Eastern Cloud Blog

This blog is aimed at our East Region State & Local Government customers. Opinions are our own - be gentle with us.

Auditing, reporting and storage improvements for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business

Knowing who is taking action on content can be critical in helping your organization fulfill its compliance requirements. And as usage of a cloud service grows, it’s key for IT to strike the right balance between visibility and user enablement. Today, we’re announcing an important update for admins—the ability to audit and report on numerous activities that take place within SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, as well as new file size limits for files uploaded to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.

Read this Office Blog entry for more details.

Microsoft Azure Stack Technical Preview


Microsoft Azure Stack is a new hybrid cloud platform product that enables organizations to deliver Azure services from their own datacenter.  Find out how you can leverage Azure security and management solutions on premises.  This Azure Stack page has more information and a link to download the preview.

Office 365 Groups: Quick tour of new user and admin experiences

Updates to Office 365 Groups 2

Groups are pervasive in Office 365, providing self-service capabilities to accelerate collaboration. They support conversations, calendars, files, notes, and planning. Take a tour of the recent updates to Office 365 Groups, and learn how these changes affect users and IT admins.  Read the Office Blog entry and watch the Microsoft Mechanics video for more.

Watch live: SQL Server 2016

March 10, 2016


Companies that transform data into intelligent action are outperforming their competitors and will be the businesses of the future. Hear Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and customers share how data insights are driving business transformation. Microsoft leaders like Scott Guthrie will also share how customers are embracing data to drive innovation and why SQL Server 2016 has become the industry leader.  The event is in New York City, but you can watch it live if you visit the Data Driven site.  Plus, get exclusive content like the Gartner reports showing SQL Server’s leadership in the industry!


Gartner Magic Quadrant

Cloud Platform Release Announcements for February


Microsoft continues the torrid pace of updates and new product releases for our cloud solutions.  Read this Cloud Platform News Bytes Blog entry for more details on the following updates:


  • Availability of OMS Extension for Linux VMs | Public – Extension Only
  • Azure IoT Hub | Price increase due to GA
  • Azure Premium Storage GA – new geo-availability | East Asia & AU SE- MEL
  • Azure Site Recovery – US Gov | GA
  • DV2 Price Drops | GA
  • Key Vault | GA
  • Power BI Content Pack – February | Troux GA & Azure Search GA
  • Power BI publish to web
  • Power BI gateway – enterprise | GA
  • Power BI mobile apps for iOS and Android update | GA
  • Power BI Windows 10 Universal app | GA
  • SQL Server 2016 | CTP 3.3
  • Virtual Machines and Cloud Services – D-Series – US Gov | GA
  • Visual Studio Code Extension for Apache Cordova | Public Preview
  • Visual Studio Dev Essentials: Azure Credit | GA
  • Visual Studio Dev Essentials: Xamarin University | GA



Announcing SQL Server Express images in the Azure Gallery

SQL Server Express is a version of SQL Server you can use for dev/test and web and mobile apps with lightweight relational database needs. SQL Server Express works great with your favorite programming languages such as .NET, JDBC, PHP, etc., and behind your favorite web applications such as WordPress and Drupal.

SQL Server Express has a limit of 1 GB of memory and 10 GB per database. The images include the core SQL Server Engine as well as SQL Server Management Studio.

The SQL Server Express licensing is free, so you only need to pay for running the virtual machine. Pause the virtual machine when you don’t need it and resume it when you want to maximize cost savings.

SQL Server Express in the Marketplace

Read more here...

Share your Excel insights with Power BI

With Power BI publisher for Excel Preview—just announced two weeks ago—you can save snapshots of important PivotTables, charts, cell ranges and more from across all of your spreadsheets to a single location quickly. Select a range or an element in your workbook and, under the Power BI tab, click Pin.

Share your Excel insights with Power BI 1

Next, select an existing dashboard from the list or create a new one, click the Pin button and you’re good to go.

Share your Excel insights with Power BI 2

Power BI publisher for Excel also allows you to keep your pinned elements up to date with the Pin manager. Download Power BI publisher for Excel to get started today.

Pin Excel elements to your Power BI dashboard

Last November, we announced the ability to pin Excel ranges, tables and charts to your Power BI dashboards. No need to re-format or rebuild your Excel reports—simply upload to Power BI, select a range, a table or a chart, click the Pin button and your Excel tile is now part of your dashboard.

Share your Excel insights with Power BI 3

Using Excel reports on Power BI not only allows you to pin content to your dashboards, you can view spreadsheets when you click the respective tile. You can also personalize the way your Excel tiles look and feel, open your Excel reports directly from Power BI or even add Excel workbooks to organizational Content Packs.

Read more here...

Azure Government adds Azure Backup

As part of our continued momentum with new capabilities on Microsoft Azure Government, we are excited to announce backup of your Azure IaaS VMs using Azure Backup. Protection of Azure IaaS VMs will help number of government customers in state and local, federal civilian and defense, plus over a hundred solution partners with dedicated government practices to leverage the cloud for critical business needs by backing up their assets on cloud.

We also enabled Microsoft Azure Backup server, a feature of Azure Backup to protect workloads to disk and cloud, for all Azure Government customers. Customers can leverage this Microsoft Azure Backup server to backup their key Microsoft workloads like SQL, SharePoint and Exchange to Azure.

Read more here...

Upcoming Events

Here's a quick list of some major Microsoft events coming to a city near you:

TechNet on Tour

* Philadelphia on 2/24, San Francisco on 3/3, Edina on 3/8, New York on 3/29

Transparency and trust in the cloud

* Mountain View on 2/17, Chicago on 3/8, Denver on 3/9, New York on 3/10

Let’s Dev This

* Austin on 2/24, Chicago on 2/26, Reston on 3/2, Atlanta on 3/9, Cambridge on 3/10

New offers make it easier for small and midsized businesses to move to Office 365

We want to make it easier for small to midsized businesses (SMBs) to move to Office 365 and experience the ability for your employees to access team files from anywhere, collaborate in real-time from any device and get enterprise-grade security that works as hard for you as for the largest organizations.

Microsoft has recently announced that customers with 50 to 149 seats of Office 365 enterprise and small business plans can take advantage of our customer success service Microsoft FastTrack. Previously available only to customers with 150 seats or more, FastTrack provides resources and dedicated engineers who can assist you, or the Microsoft Partner you work with, to implement Office 365, onboard users and get the most business value from your investment.

Speaking of Microsoft Partners, this global network of IT experts plays a critical role in helping companies small and large get up and running with the right technology. In addition to extending FastTrack to more customers, we are expanding the FY16 Adoption Offer to include Office 365 small business plans and adding payouts for customer deployments of 50–149 seats. This means Microsoft Partners will be eligible for a payout of $25 per seat for 50–149 seats, in addition to the existing payouts for 150 seats and above.