Cloud Platform Release Announcements for December 4, 2018

Machine Learning Services | Azure Machine Learning service is now available

Azure Machine Learning service, which enables developers and data scientists to quickly and easily build, train, and deploy machine learning models, is now generally available.

Use Azure Machine Learning service to:

  • Build models faster with automated machine learning.
  • Train models with auto-configured cloud compute from any Python environment, using your favorite open source frameworks.
  • Manage end-to-end workflows with DevOps for machine learning and simple deployment to the cloud and the edge.

General availability pricing will be in effect on February 1, 2019.

To learn more about Azure Machine Learning service, read the Azure blog.

For more information on features and pricing, visit the Azure Machine Learning service product page and pricing page.

Cognitive Services | Language Understanding container support is in preview

Container support for Language Understanding is now available in preview. Use this capability to deploy language understanding solutions to the edge, on-premises and in the cloud. Cognitive Services support for containers enables you to run AI on the edge and build consistent app architectures across the cloud and the edge.

Run AI on the edge
Deploy Cognitive Services in containers, to analyze information close to the physical world where the data resides, and to deliver real-time insights and immersive experiences that are highly responsive and contextually aware.

Build consistent app architectures across the cloud and edge
Cognitive Services containers enable you to build one application architecture optimized to take advantage of both robust cloud capabilities and edge locality. With containers, you can upgrade to new versions of AI models deployed in your solutions at your own pace. Test new model versions before deploying them in production in a consistent way, whether running on the edge or in the cloud.

Please refer to our documentation for additional details.

Cognitive Services | Text Translator custom translation capability is now available

Custom translation capability in Translator Text Cognitive Service is now generally available. Use custom translation capability with human-translated content to build a translation custom system that can better handle specific writing styles, industry expressions, and vocabulary.

General availability (GA) pricing will go into effect on February 1, 2019. The GA price for custom translation is four times the cost of standard translation. Please refer to the pricing page for more information.

Machine Learning Studio | Open source ONNX Runtime

We are now open sourcing ONNX Runtime, a high-performance inference engine for machine learning models in the Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX) format. ONNX Runtime is compatible with ONNX version 1.2 and comes in Python packages that support both CPU and GPU inferencing. With the release of the open source ONNX Runtime project, you have the freedom to customize and integrate the ONNX inference engine into your existing infrastructure directly from the source code, as well as compile and build it on a variety of operating systems.

To learn more about ONNX Runtime, read the Azure Blog.

.NET Core | New .NET Core release is now available

A new release of .NET Core is now available. This release includes further improvements in performance by enabling tiered compilation by default, as well as new features in the ASP.NET Core web stack like hosting model improvements for IIS, Web API improvements including API security, template updates for Bootstrap 4 and Angular 6, and HealthCheck improvements. Additionally, we’ve made improvements in our data stack and Entity Framework Core, including support for spatial extensions for SQL Server and SQLite.

For more information see our posts on the .NET Team blog.

Download the new .NET Core release.

Time Series Insights | Long-term storage and tags is now in preview

Key updates have been made to Time Series Insights that will empower you to maximize the value of your IoT data. Store decades worth of device data in a cost-effective way, add rich contextualization through time series models and metadata, query this data to get rich asset-based insights as well as interactive ad-hoc analytics, visualize data in an intuitive and powerful user experience, and connect to advanced analytics solutions as needed. The Time Series Insights platform capabilities will allow you to effectively consolidate your data to empower operators, data scientists, and business intelligence teams. In addition, the newly released pay-as-you-go pricing model offers the pricing scalability that enables you to truly harness the value of IoT scenarios.

Time Series Insights is now better suited to address core needs and provides a platform capable of bringing down data silos and accelerating the development of enterprise-grade IoT solutions.

To learn more, read the full blog post and visit Time Series Insights.

Azure DevOps Server | Azure DevOps Server 2019(RC1)

The first release candidate (RC) of Azure DevOps Server 2019, previously known as Team Foundation Server, is now available.

Dozens of new features and bug fixes across all major product areas have been implemented, including making available the new fast, clean, and customizable navigation, and other user experience improvements across many pages. In addition, a more flexible self-hosted server setup is now available, as Azure DevOps Server 2019 now supports using Azure SQL database as an option for a hybrid-cloud setup.

For more information, read our blog post and review the detailed release notes.

Visual Studio 2019 | Visual Studio 2019 Preview 1

The initial preview of Visual Studio 2019 is now available. This offers numerous productivity improvements, enhanced collaboration, and faster tooling. It enables the best experience for individual developers and teams to improve their existing projects, as well as build the next generation of modern cloud solutions.

In this release, a new start window experience has been added to get you into your code faster and easier than ever. Other additions include increased coding space, a new search experience, and productivity improvements like context-aware, AI-powered assistance with IntelliCode, more refactoring capabilities, and smarter debugging. It’s now easier than ever to collaborate across teams with access to Visual Studio Live Share installed by default.

Download Visual Studio 2019 Preview 1 online or learn more in the Visual Studio 2019 blog.

Visual Studio for Mac | Visual Studio 2019 for Mac Preview 1

Visual Studio 2019 for Mac Preview 1 will enable you to quickly create new projects or navigate to your existing code with the new welcome screen experiences that replace the start page. This preview release can be installed side-by-side with the released version of Visual Studio 2017 for Mac version 7.7, so you can try new experiences that were described in our roadmap and as they become available in upcoming preview releases.

Learn more in the Visual Studio 2019 blog.

Visual Studio Tools for Xamarin | Tools for Xamarin Forms update is now available

A new update to Xamarin.Forms is now available. This update continues to make the common cross-platform developer scenarios much easier by improving existing controls to address key scenarios for developers and reduce the need to write platform code. Adding to that, Xamarin.Forms templates now all include the Essentials library, which provides a simple cross-platform way of accomplishing platform-specific tasks such as checking device connectivity or using local device storage.

This update to Xamarin.Forms delivers accessibility improvements for screen readers and introduces tab index and focus support for both touch device usage and keyboards making it even easier develop accessible mobile applications.

Visual Studio Tools for Xamarin | Tools for Xamarin Forms update is in preview

A new update to Xamarin.Forms is now available in preview. This update introduces a new era of productivity and performance for cross-platform mobile developers making it easier to access all the native APIs needed, and to quickly describe your entire application and style it for consistent UI across devices.

The new Xamarin.Forms Shell provides a simple, prescriptive way to describe the structure of the application, and immediately see full feature navigation. Shell delivers modern design patterns for navigation, control styling, animations, and transitions out of the box.

This update to Xamarin.Forms also introduces the next generation of performance improvements. The Shell container is architected for performance minimizing GPU overdraw and unnecessary re-rendering. A new CollectionView control displaces the ListView by not only being faster and more efficient, but by introducing new layout options for vertical, horizontal, grids, flex layout, and custom layouts. Based on the CollectionView, Xamarin.Forms now has a modern CarouselView built to deliver the most beautiful carousel designs commonly shipping in mobile experiences.

All Xamarin.Forms applications start with the new Essentials library by default so you have immediate access to the most commonly used platform APIs such as connectivity and local storage from a simple and easy to use cross-platform abstraction.

Xamarin.Forms continues to deliver the best platform-specific design for native controls, and now makes it easier than ever to achieve a common UI for your applications across iOS and Android. Starting with Material Design, you can specify a material visual preference and all controls, Adopt native control renderers that implement a desired visual style and behavior on every platform, saving you countless hours of effort unifying the iOS and Android control styles.

Functions | Consumption plan for Linux in preview

Azure Functions now support Linux serverless hosting on a consumption plan. Previously, deploying to Linux was only supported while running on an App Service plan. This latest enhancement makes it possible to deploy Functions targeting the Linux OS using the pay-per-execution model. Developers who work on Mac and Linux platforms can transition seamlessly to Linux hosting in the cloud to avoid hosting platform specific translation. Hosting on Linux also means that libraries available only on Linux can now be used from your function code.

Learn more.

Functions | JavaScript support for Durable Functions is now available

Orchestrate your serverless workflows programmatically using the Durable Functions extension to the Azure Functions runtime, which will support JavaScript in GA to be used for production workloads. With Durable Functions, developers can simplify complex, stateful coordination problems in serverless applications, defining the workflows in code instead of using JSON schemas or any visual designer. With this release, new scenarios are enabled for Node.js and JavaScript developers following some development patterns (such as functions chaining, fan-out/fan-in, or human interaction).

Learn more.

Functions | Python support is in preview

Azure Functions now supports Python in preview. Develop using Python 3.6 and publish your code and dependencies to Azure, using either the serverless (consumption) or the app service (dedicated) plan. The open source Functions runtime enables you to debug and test locally, as well as publish to Azure using the Functions CLI and Visual Studio Code. Python is a natural fit for data preparation, machine learning, and automation. Building these scenarios with a serverless architecture can take away the burden of managing the underlying infrastructure, so developers are empowered to move fast and focus on the business logic of their application.

Learn more.

Azure DevOps Projects | Azure Boards GitHub commits and pull requests are in preview

At Connect(); 2018, a new preview feature that enables Azure Boards work item integration with GitHub commits and pull requests for closed-source projects will be made available.

To get started using this capability, link your GitHub repo with an Azure Boards project via OAuth integration settings. Once connected, any GitHub commit message or pull request title/description will now be able to mention Azure Boards work items using "AB#ID" syntax that will link them.

Example: "Fixes AB#20" would link Azure Boards work item #20 to the GitHub commit/pull request.
This capability enables a flexible workflow for tracking work and lets you easily navigate among all the information that helps you plan even the most complex project.

For more information read our blog post.

Azure DevOps Projects | Azure IoT Edge support is in preview

At Connect(); 2018, a new preview feature for Azure DevOps Projects will be announced that expands support to IoT applications.

Going forward, use Azure DevOps Projects to easily setup a CI/CD pipeline that can deploy IoT applications to an Azure IoT Edge device. We support multiple languages such as .NET and Python for these IoT Edge modules.

For more information read our blog post.

Visual Studio Code | Azure Pipelines Visual Studio Code extension is in preview

At Connect(); 2018, a new Azure Pipelines extension for Visual Studio Code will be made available. In this first preview release, syntax highlighting and IntelliSense (autocomplete) support for YAML-based pipelines will be available, shortening the developer inner loop by validating that the file is structured correctly and uses valid keywords. In addition, it also supports built-in tasks and can validate their required input.

The extension is an open source project on GitHub, and we welcome feedback, bug reports, and contributions from the community.

For more information read our blog post.

Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) | AKS virtual node is in preview

Powered by the open source Virtual Kubelet technology, Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) virtual node allows you to elastically provision additional pods inside Container Instances that start in seconds. With a few clicks in the Azure portal, you can turn on the virtual node feature and get the flexibility and portability of a container-focused experience in your AKS environment without worrying about managing the additional compute resources. And since your Azure Container Instances containers can join the same virtual network as the rest of your cluster, you can build Kubernetes services that seamlessly span pods running on Virtual Machines and Azure Container Instances.

For more information, visit the Connect() AKS blog.

API Management | Consumption tier is now in preview

API Management is now available in a new consumption-based usage plan called consumption tier (in preview). Unlike the current dedicated usage model with pre-allocated and isolated underlying resources, API Management consumption tier allows API Management to be used in a serverless fashion, with instant provisioning, automated scaling, built in high availabilitym and pay-per-action pricing.

The addition of a Consumption Tier option to the API Management offering enables you to more easily participate in the API economy and take advantage of the rich set of API Management capabilities. Optimize your investments by minimizing your initial and ongoing investment, and scale up easily as demand for your API grows. The API Management consumption tier option allows you to take full advantage of Functions and other serverless technologies in a truly serverless manner, so you only pay for what you use across the board.

See more information about the new APIM Consumption Tier.

API Management | More flexible subscriptions in API Management are now in preview

API Management consumption tier users can now create subscriptions at different levels, and subscriptions are no longer required to be associated with a developer account.

Unlike the current API Management approach which requires subscriptions to be associated with a developer account, the flexible subscription feature allows subscriptions without requiring association with a developer. This simplifies subscription management and avoids interruptions in scenarios such as when a developer moves to a different team or company, or when a subscription is shared by multiple developers and teams. Additionally, this feature allows you to better control access by specifying subscription scope to either All APIs or a subset of APIs.

This preview feature is initially available in API Management consumption tier and will be expanded to other API Management tiers by the end of January 2019.

Learn more about flexible subscription offering in preview.

Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) | Disclosure—Cloud Native Application Bundle (CNAB) for distributed systems

Together with Docker, we’re announcing Cloud Native Application Bundle (CNAB), an open source, cloud-agnostic specification for packaging and running distributed applications. CNAB is designed to work with everything from Azure to on-premises OpenStack, from Kubernetes to Swarm, and from Ansible to Terraform. It can execute on a workstation, a public cloud, an air-gapped network, or a constrained IoT environment. And it’s flexible enough to accommodate an array of platform needs, from customer-facing marketplaces to internal build pipelines.

Database for MySQL and PostgreSQL | Azure Database for MariaDB is now available

The Azure Database for MariaDB service offers enterprise-ready, fully managed community MariaDB featuring open-source compatibility, built-in high availability, and dynamic scaling, as well as flexible pricing. The MariaDB community edition allows you to lift and shift to the cloud using the languages and frameworks of your choice. Create MariaDB servers in Azure using familiar tools, languages, and frameworks based on the basic, general purpose, or memory optimized pricing tiers that can scale compute and storage resources to fit your workload needs.

Learn more.

Azure Database for MySQL and PostgreSQL | Virtual network for Azure Database for MariaDB is in preview

Now in preview, virtual network service endpoints for Azure Database for MariaDB are accessible in all available regions. Virtual network service endpoints allow you to isolate connectivity to your logical server from only a given subnet or set of subnets within your virtual network. Traffic to Azure Database for MariaDB from the virtual network service endpoints stays within the Azure network, preferring this direct route over any specific routes that take internet traffic through virtual appliances or on-premises.

Learn more.

Stream Analytics | Azure Stream Analytics on IoT Edge is now generally available

Azure Stream Analytics on IoT Edge is now generally available. This new feature extends the benefits of our unique streaming technology from the cloud to the device level. Azure Stream Analytics on IoT Edge provides a simple way to analyze data in real-time, while using the same familiar programming languages and unified cloud management portal. Azure Stream Analytics on IoT Edge can be used for free until February 1, 2019; the new pricing model will be applicable after February 1, 2019. Custom pricing is available for large scale deployments (more than 5,000 devices).

To learn more about this service, please visit the Azure Stream Analytics webpage and check out our announcement blog.

Azure Maps | Now available

A new pricing tier has been added for Azure Maps. This is shown on our pricing page as the “S1” offering. This tier will complement our existing pricing tier and will offer a higher throttling threshold to support high-volume, enterprise-scale or mission-critical applications. Customers who are currently using the S0 tier and wish to upgrade can do so with the instructions included in our documentation.

For more information, please see our pricing page.

API Management | Bring your own cache is in preview

The bring your own cache feature allows you to use external Redis-compatible cache with API Management in the consumption tier. Bringing your own cache allows you to achieve better performance within API Management in a serverless environment because caching isn’t available in API Management consumption tier out of the box.

This preview feature is initially available in API Management Consumption Tier and will be expanded to other API Management tiers by the end of January 2019.

Learn more.

Container Instances | GPU support in Azure Container Instances is in preview

Azure Container Instances allows you to easily run containers on Azure without managing servers. Choose the VM types that you want to run your containers in. Azure Container Instances now supports GPU enabled containers, enabling you to run the intensive jobs required for machine learning.
For more information, visit the Connect() AKS blog.

Functions | Serverless Community Library is in preview

The Azure Serverless Community Library (in preview) is an open-source set of prebuilt components based on common use cases using Functions and Logic Apps. These components are already built and ready to deploy on the desired Azure subscription, so you can plug-and-play and use those prebuilt components out of the box, saving coding time and increasing productivity. Check out the more than 40 available components at the Serverless Library, and contribute with your own components in its GitHub repository.

IoT solution accelerators | Remote monitoring updates

Azure IoT solution accelerators helps you create fully customizable solutions for common Internet of Things (IoT) scenarios. With several updates to the Azure IoT Remote Monitoring solution accelerator, you’re now empowered to manage more facets of your IoT solutions. These updates to the Azure IoT Remote Monitoring solution accelerator enable to:

  • Deploy edge modules to IoT edge devices.
  • Trigger actions such as email notifications in response to device alert.
  • Manage device updates using Automatic Device Management.
  • Visualize device data using Azure Time Series Insights

Learn more on our blog.

IoT solution accelerators | Update to Device Simulation

Several major updates have been made to the Azure IoT Device Simulation solution accelerator. Now, developers are enabled to create advanced device simulations to test their IoT solutions in development—before making costly and time-consuming hardware investments—saving money and encouraging innovation. This solution accelerator makes it possible to script complex device behavior, include multiple device models in a single simulation, and let simulations run for as long as necessary to emulate real-world scenarios.

Learn more about these updates by reading our blog post.

Power BI Report Server | SQL Server Reporting Services reports now supported

In July 2018 we first announced our plans to support SQL Server Reporting Services reports in Power BI, and later demonstrated this capability at the Microsoft Business Applications Summit. This functionality is now available in preview in Power BI Premium, allowing you to view and interact with your pixel-perfect paginated reports alongside your existing Power BI interactive reports in the Power BI portal.

See the Power BI blog for more information.

Azure SQL Database Managed Instance | Business critical service tier is now available

Designed for mission-critical business apps with high I/O requirements, the business critical tier supports high availability with the highest level of storage and compute redundancy. Save up to 80 percent off the license-included full price when you apply Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server and reserved capacity pricing.

Learn more about Managed Instance business critical and other Managed Instance updates in our announcement blog.

Deploy highly available and disaster recovery configured applications on Azure

Azure is the most resilient cloud platform with a comprehensive set of built-in services for high availability, disaster recovery, and backup, enabling you to adopt operational proven practices for your business continuity needs. In addition to the broadest global coverage, Azure offers the most comprehensive resiliency strategy in the industry from mitigating rack level failures with availability sets to protecting against large-scale events with failover to separate regions with Azure Site Recovery. Within a region, Availability Zones increases fault tolerance with physically separated locations, each with independent power, network, and cooling. Azure is the first public cloud to offer native disaster recovery solution for applications running on Azure virtual machines using Azure Site Recovery.

Read the full story.

Azure Service Fabric | Mesh updates

The serverless Azure Service Fabric Mesh refresh is now available with improvements such as auto-scale and network and gateway resources, in addition to storage improvements and fixes. Azure Service Fabric Mesh is a fully managed service that enables developers to build and deploy mission critical applications without managing any infrastructure. Use Service Fabric Mesh to build and run secure, distributed microservices applications that scale on demand. Learn how to use Service Fabric Mesh with our quickstarts and tutorials.

To learn more, read the Service Fabric Mesh overview and the frequently asked questions.

Service Fabric | Updates

A new Azure Service Fabric runtime update with the corresponding SDK and tooling updates is now available with many enhancements, including support for Windows Server 1803, low-latency storage improvements, and more.

To learn more, read the blog.

Service Fabric | Service Fabric release for Bosh

Service Fabric Ubuntu clusters can now be provisioned on-premises as well as on public clouds using Bosh. To learn more, read the full blog post and visit the tutorial to get started.

Azure Cosmos DB | CORS support is now available

Now generally available, Azure Cosmos DB offers service level, global cross-origin resource sharing (CORS) support that enables web browser-based applications to directly connect to Azure Cosmos DB. CORS is ahyper-text transfer protocol (HTTP) feature that enables web applications running on one domain to request resources from another domain. This new support offers functionality and security for cross-origin requests to developers using Azure Cosmos DB via the JavaScript SDK.

Azure Cosmos DB | .NET SDK update is in preview

The Azure Cosmos DB .NET SDK helps developers build Azure Cosmos DB applications with the SQL API and perform various operations more easily. The preview of the new version is now available for download or to provide feedback on GitHub. The SDK targets .NET Standard 2.0 and has many new features including a new, intuitive object model, support for streams, and other performance improvements.

Learn more.

Azure Cosmos DB | Shared throughput reduced minimum is now available

Throughput provisioned at the database level now starts at 400 RU/s per database and can be shared across any or all containers within a database. Throughput can be scaled in increments of 100 RU/s. Provisioning throughput at the database level can result in savings for databases with multiple containers, versus provisioning throughput to each container individually. Additionally, Azure Cosmos DB users can now use database provisioning as part of their 12-month trial, with their complimentary Azure account.

Learn more.