Cloud Platform Release Announcements for October 25, 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.

  • AKS (Azure Container Service) managed Kubernetes and Geo Replication in Azure Container Registry | Registry Preview
  • Azure Information Protection scanner preview
  • Microsoft Intune | Intune management extension
  • Azure Virtual Machines | B-series  preview
  • Azure Site Recovery and Azure Backup simpler setup
  • Cognitive Services | Bing Search API update and Bing Custom Search GA
  • Power BI Desktop | GA
  • Power BI service | GA
  • .NET Framework update | GA

AKS (Azure Container Service) managed Kubernetes and Geo Replication in Azure Container Registry | Preview

Azure Container Service (AKS) managed Kubernetes and Geo Replication in Azure Container Registry Preview is now available

Microsoft continues to innovate container services with the availability of managed Kubernetes in Azure Container Service and Geo Replication in Azure Container Registry Preview. AKS manages your hosted Kubernetes environment, making it quick and easy to deploy and manage containerized applications without container orchestration expertise. It further eliminates the burden of ongoing operations and maintenance by provisioning, upgrading, and scaling resources on demand without taking your applications offline. Additionally, Geo-replication enables Container Registry to function as a single registry, while being available for local operations in the replicated regions. As images are used across many Azure services, you can benefit from a single management plane while maintaining network-close, fast, and reliable image pulls.
Azure Container Registry is also announcing the general availability of basic, standard, and premium SKUs. By using managed SKUs, Container Registry customers can easily move among basic, standard, and premium. Container Registry will manage caching of storage accounts to meet the throughput and API calls. By choosing premium, customers will have higher throughput as Container Registry replicates images across multiple, (encrypted at rest), storage accounts, all managed by Azure Container Registry.

Learn more about managed Kubernetes Preview. Read about Geo Replication Preview, and Azure Container Registry managed SKUs.

Azure Information Protection scanner preview

To help you manage and protect significant on-premises data, we’re releasing the public preview of Azure Information Protection scanner. The scanner can be configured to periodically scan your on-premises repositories such as file servers and on-premises SharePoint servers to discover, label, and protect sensitive data based on company policies. This is particularly important in scenarios where you’re planning data migration from on-premises to cloud storage or working towards meeting regulatory and compliance requirements such as GDPR. Learn more about the scanner and get technical details. See the scanner in action.

Microsoft Intune | Intune management extension

We've been regularly adding new modern management features in Intune since the release of Windows 10. Some recent improvements include the ability to deploy Office 365 ProPlus, BitLocker management, integration with Windows Update for Business, and more. We're also working on the ability to run PowerShell scripts on Windows 10 devices using Intune Management Extension. Other new features will include new Windows 10 mobile device management settings, and enhanced support for Windows AutoPilot, Windows Defender ATP, Windows Store for Business, and Surface Hub. Read more.

Azure Virtual Machines | B-series preview

B-series preview pricing | B-series documentation

We're excited to announce the public preview of the B-series, a new Azure Virtual Machines family that provides the lowest cost of any existing size with flexible CPU usage. For many workloads that run in Azure, like web servers, small databases, and development and test environments, the CPU performance can be very bursty. These workloads will run for a long time using a small fraction of the CPU performance possible, and then spike to requiring the full power of the CPU due to incoming traffic or required work. With our current sizes, while running in these low points, you're still paying for the full CPU, so that you can handle the high and bursty points.
The B-series offers a cost-effective way to deploy these workloads that don't need the full performance of the CPU continuously and burst in their performance. While B-series virtual machines (VMs) are running in the low-points and not fully using the baseline performance of the CPU, your VM instance builds up credits. When the VM has accumulated enough credit, you can burst your usage, up to 100 percent of the vCPU for the period of time when your application requires the higher CPU performance.

The B-series VM sizes allow you to pay and burst as needed, using only a fraction of the CPU when you don’t need it, and bursting up to 100 percent of the CPU when you do need it (using Intel® Haswell 2.4 GHz E5-2673 v3 processors or better). This level of control gives you extreme cost flexibility and flexible value. The B-series comes in six VM sizes during preview.

Azure Site Recovery and Azure Backup simpler setup

Available now in public preview, Azure Site Recovery is making it even easier for you to set up disaster recovery with built-in setup in the virtual machine experience. You can now replicate your applications to another region in Azure in one click. Disaster recovery settings are preconfigured, including the creation of the Recovery Services vault, so that you can save time while protecting more applications. Azure Site Recovery also now supports disaster recovery for VMware virtual machines running Windows Server 2016. Learn how to start enabling Azure Site Recovery on your Azure virtual machines. Also available in public preview, you can set up a backup plan directly from the create virtual machines menu, saving you extra steps to ensure your data is protected. In one centralized location, you can set your retention policy and backup frequency, as well as enable backup. By using this feature, you can safeguard your data from ransomware and reduce your total infrastructure costs right from the start. Learn more about our integration into the virtual machine creation experience.

Cognitive Services | Bing Search API update and Bing Custom Search GA

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.

We’re excited to announce that Bing Custom Search API and new Bing Search APIs  are now generally available on the Azure portal.

Bing Custom Search lets you create a highly-customized and targeted web search experience to deliver more relevant results from your targeted web space through a commercial grade service.
See more information about Bing Custom Search GA pricing.

We’re also excited to announce the general availability of new Bing Search APIs. Results return fast with improved performance for queries on the Bing Web Search API.
We're pleased to announce 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.

See more information.

Power BI Desktop | GA

New and most frequently requested Power BI Desktop features are now available to business analysts.

Bookmarking (preview)— We're very excited to announce our preview of bookmarking. This was one of the features we demonstrated at the Data Insights Summit as a powerful way to save and share out your insights with others. Bookmarking lets you save interesting states as part of your report. Bookmarks can be used 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— As part of bookmarking, we're also adding a new way to call attention to a specific chart during presentations. Use our focus mode to temporarily increase the size of a chart to fill the whole page. If instead, you want to easily call attention to a chart without losing the context of the report, you can spotlight a visual to fade out all the other charts on the page.

Quick measures for SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) live connections— Now you can use quick measures for reports that are using live connection mode against SQL Server Analysis Services models. Turn on the preview feature switch and start using them in your models right away.

Power BI Desktop in the Windows Store— In case you missed the announcement at Ignite, we're very excited to announce that you can now get Power BI Desktop from the Windows Store. Learn more. Download the latest Power BI Desktop to experience the new features immediately. Get more information on these new features and others in this blog post.

Power BI service | GA

Additional new and most frequently requested Power BI features are now available to users and business analysts.

Share dashboards to users with Power BI Premium— We want to make it as easy as possible for customers to adopt Premium for their existing Power BI deployments and start benefiting from unlimited distribution to all users, consistent performance, and increased scale. While Power BI apps are the recommended approach for large scale distribution, we heard that some customers wanted to use their existing dashboard sharing approach, so they could adopt Premium more quickly. As a result, we now allow dashboard sharing by pro users of content in 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— Usage metrics reports now load many times faster, allowing dashboard and report authors to get even quicker insights into their impact. Learn more about usage metrics. Sign in to to experience the new features immediately. Get more information on these new features and others.

.NET Framework update | GA

The .NET Framework is a development platform for building Windows applications and provides a variety of services to its running apps. It's distributed with Windows. A new update to .NET Framework is generally available with the release of Windows Fall Creators Update (RS3) and will roll out on Windows Update for downlevel operating systems. Please see these release notes for more information.