SQL Database Improvements, Azure Active Directory Deployment of On Prem Apps to Cloud, HDInsight Tooling Top Azure Announcements

azurecloudThis week, Microsoft compiled a series of announcements that noted improvements and updates to its Azure platform. I wanted to call out several key new features of interest to developers and cloud development managers:

  • Updates to SQL Database making it easier to migrate your applications to the cloud.
  • Azure Active Directory Application Proxy allows publishing of on-premises web applications on Azure Active Directory. Through an easy and secured process, web applications hosted on-premises can now be published via Azure Active Directory. Apps allow for single sign on.
  • Azure Site Recovery now has the ability to replicate and recover virtual machines (VMs) directly to Azure without requiring System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
  • To help developers using Visual Studio easily incorporate the benefits of big data within their applications, we’ve added a deeper tooling experience for HDInsight in the most recent version of the Azure SDK. Developers can use this extension to visualize and query their Hadoop clusters, as well as manage applications that integrate with Hadoop directly in Visual Studio. Learn more.

The following is from the Azure monthly newsletter and of interest to developers and cloud development managers:

Major update to SQL Database in new public preview with new S3 performance level

This public preview represents another major milestone for Azure SQL Database, adding SQL Server capabilities which make it easier to migrate apps to the cloud. Enhancements include easier management of large databases with online indexing and parallel queries; more T-SQL support with CLR and XML index; monitoring and troubleshooting with extended events; and in-memory column store to help improve performance analytics on data marts. Additionally, a new performance level, S3, is also available with this preview. See SQL Database documentation webpage for more details.

Azure Active Directory Application Proxy generally available

Azure Active Directory Application Proxy is the new premium and basic module that allows publishing of on-premises web applications on Azure Active Directory. Through an easy and secured process, web applications hosted on-premises can now be published via Azure Active Directory and made available to external users in the same way as software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. Single sign-on is available, as well as user- and group-based access management, while your internal apps will appear alongside SaaS apps in end-user access panels (myapps).

Live Channels generally available

Now generally available, Live Channels for Azure Media Services is the same streaming solution used by ten leading international broadcasters to seamlessly deliver coverage of the 2014 World Cup. Now it’s backed by the full support of the Azure Service-Level Agreement (SLA) for all customers. For more information, please visit the Media Services webpage. 

Premium Storage in public preview

Premium Storage, a new SSD-based storage, is designed to support I/O-intensive workloads. With Premium Storage, you can add up to 32 TB of persistent storage per VM, with more than 50,000 IOPS per VM at less than one millisecond latency for read operations. For more information, please visit the Preview features and Storage webpages.

Azure HDInsight now customizable for a variety of Hadoop projects

Now you have the ability to customize your Azure HDInsight clusters with projects available from the Apache Hadoop ecosystem. By using the Script Action feature, Hadoop clusters can be modified in arbitrary ways using custom scripts. To demonstrate the power of this capability, we’ve documented the process for installing Spark and R modules.

HDInsight adds a deeper Visual Studio experience

To help developers using Visual Studio easily incorporate the benefits of big data within their applications, we’ve added a deeper tooling experience for HDInsight in the most recent version of the Azure SDK. Developers can use this extension to visualize and query their Hadoop clusters, as well as manage applications that integrate with Hadoop directly in Visual Studio. Learn more.

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