Cloud Platform Release Announcements for November 28, 2018

Azure security and operations management | Own your hardware security modules (HSM) with Azure Dedicated HSM

Azure Dedicated HSM enables you to keep full administrative and cryptographic control over the hardware security modules (HSMs). These HSMs process your encryption keys and meet compliance requirements for several industry standards and regulations (such as FIPS 140-2 Level 3, GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and eIDAS), while also meeting the demanding latency and throughput requirements for your applications. This service is targeted at scenarios that require direct HSM access such as migration or HSM-specific features. To find out more, visit the Azure blog.

Azure Key Vault, which is also backed by HSMs, remains the solution of choice for most key management needs where near instant deployments, high availability, integration with other Microsoft cloud services, and pay-as-you go pricing are the key benefits customer is seeking.

Azure Functions | Key Vault integration is in preview

Azure Key Vault integration with Azure Functions lets you build more secure serverless applications out of the box by taking advantage of secrets management to get the benefits of rotation policies and centralized access control. This integration will allow you to seamlessly connect to Key Vault to retrieve secrets by using a reference.

Learn more about Azure Functions and Azure Key Vault.

Visual Studio App Center | HockeyApp transition to Visual Studio App Center

The next generation of HockeyApp services will be part of Visual Studio App Center. HockeyApp services including distribution, crash reporting, and analytics will be available in App Center as well as the added new services: build, test, and push notifications. These App Center features continue to help developers be more productive and are part of the journey to make App Center the future of HockeyApp.

Because HockeyApp’s services are now available in App Center, HockeyApp was retired on November 16, 2019. HockeyApp customers will have one year to complete their transition. To make this transition seamless, we’ve already synced customers’ apps between HockeyApp and App Center. We’ve also built a side-by-side experience that allows developers to work on their HockeyApp apps in both App Center and HockeyApp.

To learn more, read the full blog post and visit the HockeyApp transition webpage.

Power BI Desktop | Now available

This update for Power BI Desktop includes several features the Power BI community has asked for:

  • Follow-up questions for Q&A explorer. Ask follow-up questions inside the Q&A explorer pop-up, which will consider previously asked questions as context. For example, ask “List customers in London”, and then ask the follow up question “What did they buy?”, and the result for that second question will be only for London customers.
  • New modeling view makes it easier to work with large models. Have multiple diagram layouts, customize and save them, use display folders, and several additional enhancements that improve performance and experience are now available in preview.
  • Expand and collapse matrix row headers. Row headers on the matrix visual now work like Excel PivotTables, with the ability to expand and collapse individual row headers.
  • Copy and paste between PBIX files. Copy and paste visuals between PBIX files, greatly improving usability and speeding up the process of creating new reports.

For more information, see the Power BI blog.

Power BI service | Now available

The latest update to the Power BI services includes the preview of dataflows and paginated reports in Power BI.

Power BI already includes robust self-service data preparation capabilities in Power BI Desktop through the familiar Power Query-based experiences used by millions worldwide. With the new preview of dataflows in Power BI, self-service data preparation has been greatly improved, enabling business analysts to create data preparation logic that can be reused across multiple Power BI reports and dashboards and linked together to create sophisticated data transformation pipelines. Dataflows can be configured to store the data in the customer’s Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 instance, and dataflows support the Microsoft Common Data Model, giving organizations the ability to use a standardized and extensible collection of data schemas (entities, attributes, and relationships).

Long-time BI customers with investments in SQL Server Reporting Services can now include pixel-perfect paginated reports alongside Power BI’s existing interactive reports. This provides a unified, secure, enterprise-wide reporting platform accessible to any user across devices.

For more information, see the Power BI blog.

Azure Blockchain Development Kit integrates blockchain with the best of Microsoft and Azure

Connect any user interface, integrate with existing systems, and simplify smart contract DevOps with the Azure Blockchain Development Kit, now available to the public. Connect end-users to the ledger using basic interfaces for developing markets, or advanced interfaces like bots and digital assistants for cutting edge scenarios. Integrate smart contracts with existing SaaS tools, systems, and data used to manage shared business processes. Easily build, test, debug, and deploy smart contracts in a consortium environment using Azure DevOps and open source tools like Truffle.

Download the code samples on GitHub today.

Visual Studio for Mac | New version released

A new version of Visual Studio 2017 for Mac is now available. This release includes a significant number of bug and performance fixes, as well as some important community-requested features. This version has:

  • Improved IntelliSense with brace completions, smart indenting and lightbulbs for code suggestions.
  • Improved build performance for Xamarin.Android projects. The improved deployment and build times are visible whether it’s the first build or the fiftieth. Read more details on the changes, as well as metrics and comparisons.
  • The ability to publish ASP.NET Core projects to a folder. In addition to deploying to Azure, this version introduces a new publish destination, the local computer.
  • Added support for ASP.NET Core 2.2 to be able to use the latest and greatest the .NET Core world has to offer.
  • Enhancements to the Report a Problem experience to allow you to provide feedback to the VS4Mac team directly within the IDE, and to include addition information such as crash logs.

Database Migration Assistant Azure SQL DB Managed Instance recommendation | Now available

Azure SQL Database Managed Instance SKU Recommendation for Database Migration Assistant is available now.

Expand the scope of environment assessments to migrate legacy SQL Server instances to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance with the new Azure SQL Database SKU recommendation functionality. This feature is used in conjunction with Database Migration Assistant to recommend the proper cloud database service tier and sizing configuration based on an existing on-premises workload. This functionality is provided free of charge.

Read more about the SKU recommendation functionality.

Azure Functions | User-Assigned managed identity is now in preview

User-assigned managed identity is now in preview. Use this feature to configure identities for Linux apps in preview, both for Azure Functions and App Service, using the managed identities for Azure Services and the available support for system-assigned identities on Windows. User-assigned identities are also now supported for both OS platforms (in preview).

Learn more about Azure Functions and Azure Key Vault.

SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines Resource Provider | Now available

There’s a new and simple way to activate Azure Hybrid Benefit cost savings for existing SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines through new Azure Resource Provider functionality. For customers with Software Assurance, Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server allows you to apply your on-premises SQL Server licenses to run SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines at a reduced cost.

Use given PowerShell commands or ARM template deployment to activate Azure Hybrid Benefit for cost savings.

To learn more, read the detailed SQL Server VM Azure Hybrid Benefit activation blog post.