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Cloud Platform Release Announcements for October 11, 2017

This is a blog post for a new, ongoing series of consolidated updates from the Cloud Platform team.

We’re here to help you embrace the cloud. Realize your true potential with our unique innovations, comprehensive mobile solutions, and developer tools across the breadth of our product portfolio. To help you stay current, here are our latest releases.

  • Azure Functions | Java support public preview
  • Power BI Embedded | General availability (GA)
  • Node.js support on Azure | Application Insights SDK for Node.js—GA
  • Node.js support on Azure | Node.js migration and support services from nearForm
  • Azure API Management | PowerBI Solution Template
  • Azure Functions | Durable Functions public preview
  • Azure Event Hubs | Event Hubs dedicated pricing change
  • Azure Cosmos DB | Try Cosmos DB at no cost
  • SQL Server 2012 SP4 | GA
  • Azure DNS private zones | Managed preview
  • Azure App Gateway Web Application Firewall (WAF)  | GA
  • Azure Files share snapshots | In preview
  • Visual Studio 2017 | Update
  • Visual Studio for Mac | Update
  • Azure Batch AI  |  Preview

Azure Functions | Java support public preview

Announcing preview support for Java for Azure Functions. Serverless computing enabled by Azure Functions provides great benefits for cost, productivity and innovation. Developers want to be able to reap these benefits while working with their favorite programming languages and development tools.

In order to enable that experience, support for Java languages for Azure Functions is now available in preview. This includes support for popular Java tools like Maven, Jenkins, and IDEs such as IntelliJ, Eclipse, as well as Visual Studio Code.

For more details, please see the announcement blog post on Azure blog.

Power BI Embedded | GA

Microsoft Power BI simplified how partners and developers embed visualizations into their apps.

In the same way that partners build apps on Azure infrastructure, they can also use Power BI capabilities to quickly add stunning visuals, reports, and dashboards into their intelligent apps through Power BI Embedded capacity-based tiers. Partners and developers can choose between using our visuals and creating their own. They can expose insights to their customers by connecting to countless data sources, and easily manage the needs of their apps and consumption of the service. Learn more.

Node.js support on Azure | Application Insights SDK for Node.js | GA

Application Insights is an application performance management tool that monitors your apps, services, and components in production, after deployment. It helps you rapidly discover and  diagnose performance bottlenecks and other issues. On October 4, 2017, we announced the availability of the Node.js SDK for Application Insights 1.0, which brings maturity to the project along with improvements in performance, reliability, and stability.

  • Monitor your Node.js apps and services in production. Find issues before your users report them such as bugs and performance bottlenecks.
  • Gather telemetry data from your Node.js app.
  • Monitor connected services with Application Map, including databases (MongoDB, Redis, PostgreSQL, MySQL, and more) and popular NPM packages, out-of-the-box.
  • Works everywhere—virtual machines on Azure and on-premises, Azure Web Apps on Linux, Internet-of-Things devices, and even desktop apps built with Electron.
    Application Insights SDK for Node.js is available today, and is published on GitHub and NPM as an open source project.

Learn more about Application Insights, then check out the getting started guide for Node.js.

Node.js support on Azure | Node.js migration and support services from nearForm

Read full announcement NearForm and Microsoft announced at Node Interactive a new partnership to help customers migrate Node.js apps and services to Azure, and provide enterprise-grade support for them. By partnering with nearForm, we're bringing their multi-year expertise in architecting, designing, and supporting Node.js apps to developers as they adopt Azure and build on top of our cloud. The partnership includes services for:

  • Migration of Node.js apps and services to Azure.
  • Developer support for production apps and services.
  • Technology consulting—migration to micro services-based architectures, code reviews, Node.js apps performance.
  • Helping businesses migrate to a SaaS model.

With nearForm, Azure customers get access to teams of world-class software architects, designers, developers, DevOps engineers, and open source tooling experts, including Node.js Core contributors and members of the TSC. Based in Ireland, nearForm operates worldwide, assisting customers of any size and industry.

Customers interested in the migration and developer services can request a quote from nearForm directly.

Azure API Management | PowerBI Solution Template

Azure API Management Analytics PowerBI Solution Template now available

We're pleased to announce the immediate availability of the Azure API Management Analytics Power BI Solution Template. This template allows you to create engaging, customizable dashboards that illustrate traffic flowing through your Azure API Management instance.

The template offers a variety of pages to help you understand and manage your API activity, including:

  • At-a-glance provides a summary of traffic and KPIs.
  • API Calls offers detailed insights into specific APIs, subscriptions, and time periods.
  • Errors helps you identify possible concerns in your API gateway.
  • Call Frequency highlights unseen patterns in your traffic.
  • Relationships illustrates calls that are likely to come sequentially, providing intelligence regarding how developers are using your APIs.

Download the templateSee an overview with screenshots and find more technical details.

Azure Functions | Durable Functions public preview

We're happy to announce the public preview of Durable Functions, an Azure Functions extension for building long-running, stateful function orchestrations in code using C# in a serverless environment. This will allow developers to implement a lot of new scenarios which were not possible earlier, including complex chaining scenarios, fan in/fan out patterns, stateful actors, and scenarios with long callbacks.

Azure Event Hubs | Event Hubs Dedicated pricing change

New pricing tier for Event Hubs Dedicated

Effective November 13, 2017, we will offer a new pricing tier for Azure Event Hubs Dedicated. This tier introduces hourly fixed pricing, and will be available to both EA and Direct via the web customers.

Azure Event Hubs is a hyper-scale telemetry ingestion service that collects, transforms, and stores millions of events. As a fully managed service, it lets you focus on getting value from your telemetry rather than on gathering the data.

The Event Hubs Dedicated service offers single-tenant deployments for customers with the most demanding requirements.  Key benefits of the service include:

  • Support for message sizes up to 1MB
  • Guaranteed capacity to meet peak needs
  • Message retention for 7 days without any additional cost
  • Leverages the Capture feature of Event Hubs, allowing a single stream to support real-time and batch based pipelines

Collectively, these enhancements provide greater value in terms of price per capacity unit, and greater flexibility to pay for what you use. This blog post provides additional details.

Azure Cosmos DB | Try Cosmos DB at no cost

Try Azure Cosmos DB at no cost for a limited time

Take advantage of the free time-bound access offer for Azure Cosmos DB without requiring an Azure subscription. This allows you to more easily evaluate Azure Cosmos DB at no cost to you. Start your free offer today.

SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 4 | GA

The SQL Server team is excited to bring you the final service pack release for SQL Server 2012. SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 4 (SP4) contains a rollup of released hotfixes as well as more than 20 improvements centered around performance, scalability, and diagnostics based on the feedback from customers and the SQL community. These include additional monitoring capabilities through enhancements in DMV, Extended Events, and Query Plans. Learn more in the recent SQL Server 2012 SP4 post on the SQL Server Blog.

Azure DNS private zones | Managed preview

We're announcing a managed preview of private zones, a key feature addition to Azure DNS. This capability provides a reliable, secure DNS service to manage and resolve names in a virtual network (VNet), without the need for you to create and manage custom DNS solution. This feature allows you to use your company domain rather than the Azure-provided names available today, provides name resolution for virtual machines (VMs) within a VNet and across VNets. Additionally, you can configure zones names with a split-horizon view, allowing for a private and a public DNS zone to share the same name.

Zone and record management is done using the already familiar PowerShell. Support for Rest API, CLI, and Portal will be announced soon.

For more information and to participate in the managed preview, please contact

For more information, including pricing details, please visit the Azure DNS Private Zone overview page and the Azure DNS pricing page.

(Note—Customers will be charged a reduced rate during the preview.)

Azure App Gateway WAF (Web Application Firewall) | GA

Azure Application Gateway is an application delivery controller service that offers various Layer 7 (HTTP/HTTPS) load balancing and WAF capabilities to Azure customers. As part of continued enhancements, we're pleased to announce support for IPv6 for Azure Application Gateway. With this capability, customers can now choose to create IPv6 end points in addition to existing IPv4 end points. This allows users to connect to Application Gateway using either IPv4 or IPv6 protocols. IPv6 support is available in select regions. Support for remaining regions will be announced in coming weeks.

For more information, refer to Application Gateway IPv6 page.

Azure Files share snapshots | In preview

Announcing the public preview for Azure File snapshots

We're excited to introduce Azure Files share snapshots. Share snapshots allow you to periodically create a read-only copy of the data in an entire file share to use as a baseline for a new file share. It can also be used as a means of providing a cloud-based version of the file recovery capabilities that users know and love.
File share snapshots provide a point in time “picture” of the contents of a cloud file share. Only the incremental changes to individual files in the share will be written to the snapshot.

A file share may have up to 200 snapshots. Share snapshots persist until they are explicitly deleted.

Azure File share snapshots use a cloud version of the SMB "Previous Versions" functionality found in client and server versions of Windows. Previous Versions functionality helps users to:

  • Recover files you accidentally deleted.
  • View or restore a version of a file that you have saved over.
  • Allow you to compare current and/or previous versions of a file side-by-side.

Customers can create or delete share snapshots using REST API, Client Library, PowerShell, CLI, and Azure Portal. Customers can view snapshots of a share, file, or directory using both REST API and SMB.

The Azure Files share snapshots public preview will be available in all regions. During the preview, capacity occupied by share snapshots will be free but standard transaction charges will be billed. For more information regarding Azure Files Share Snapshots, please visit our blog. See additional pricing information.

Visual Studio 2017 | Update

Visual Studio 2017 is now available, adding support for the Windows Fall Creators Update, .NET Standard 2.0 support for UWP development, and a new Windows Application packaging project to help you pack any Windows project into an .appx container for distribution through the Windows Store.  Xamarin Live enables you to continuously deploy, test, and debug your apps directly on iOS and Android devices. Download the update.

Visual Studio for Mac | Update

A new update to Visual Studio for Mac  is now available, adding Docker support for ASP.NET Core apps, Android 8.0 Oreo support for apps using Xamarin, as well as .NET Core 2.0 installation from within the Visual Studio for Mac installer. The complete release notes are available here. Download the update here, or through the Visual Studio for Mac updater.

Azure Batch AI | Preview

We recently announced the release of Azure Batch AI Preview. Azure Batch AI Preview helps you train deep learning and other machine learning models using GPU and CPU clusters. There's no additional charge for using Batch AI Service Preview beyond the underlying compute and other resources consumed. Batch AI Preview supports both standard and low priority virtual machines. Only Linux virtual machines in the East US region are supported in the preview. For more information, see Azure Batch AI.