Eastern Cloud Blog

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

Azure Premium Storage, now generally available

Today, we are excited to announce General Availability (GA) of Microsoft Azure Premium Storage!

With the introduction of Premium Storage, Microsoft Azure now offers two types of durable storage: Premium Storage and Standard Storage. Premium Storage stores data on the latest technology Solid State Drives (SSDs) whereas Standard Storage stores data on Hard Disk Drives (HDDs). Premium Storage is designed for Azure Virtual Machine workloads which require consistent high IO performance and low latency in order to host IO intensive workloads like OLTP, Big Data, and Data Warehousing on platforms like SQL Server, MongoDB, Cassandra, and others. With Premium Storage, more customers will be able to lift-and-shift demanding enterprise applications to the cloud.

Premium Storage is currently available for Page Blobs and Data Disks used by Azure Virtual Machines. You can provision a Premium Storage Data Disk with the right performance characteristics to meet your requirements. You can attach multiple disks to a VM and enable up to 32 TB of storage per VM with more than 64,000 IOPS per VM at low-millisecond latency for read operations.

Read more here...

Announcing Azure Media Player

Reach the most popular devices with a single development experience

Azure Media Player is a free player solution built to playback media content from Microsoft Azure Media Services. Azure Media Player has the ability to reach a wide variety of browsers and devices with a simple HTML and JavaScript code. Azure Media Player is easy to set up and use. It only takes a few minutes to get playback of media content working from your Azure Media Services account.

What is Azure Media Player?

Azure Media Player utilizes industry standards, such as HTML5 (MSE/EME) to provide an enriched adaptive streaming experience. When these standards are not available on a device or in a browser, Azure Media Player automatically uses Flash and Silverlight as fallback technology. Regardless of the playback technology used, developers will have a unified JavaScript interface to access APIs. This allows for content served by Azure Media Services to be played across a wide-range of devices and browsers without any extra effort.

Microsoft Azure Media Services allows for content to be streamed using DASH, Smooth Streaming and HLS streaming formats to playback content. Azure Media Player takes into account these various formats and automatically plays the best link based on the platform/browser capabilities. Microsoft Azure Media Services also allows for dynamic encryption of assets using PlayReady encryption or AES-128 bit envelope encryption. When appropriately configured with capable platforms, Azure Media Player allows for decryption of PlayReady and AES-128 bit encrypted content.

Please note that Azure Media Player only supports media streams from Azure Media Services.

Azure Media Player demo page screenshot

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Office 365 now supports larger email messages—up to 150 MB

For the last few years the largest email message you could send or receive in Office 365 was 25 MB. While 25 MB is more than enough for the majority of email, you might bump up against that limit when trying to send large slide decks, spreadsheets or videos. Outlook Web App (OWA) in Office 365 offers an easy way to “attach” a document as a link to where it’s saved on OneDrive for Business, a great option for sharing large files with your colleagues. But there are times when you’d prefer to send a large file as an actual attachment rather than a link. For those times, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve increased the allowed maximum message size to 150 MB, giving Office 365 administrators the ability to set the maximum message size of their choosing from 1 MB up to 150 MB.

Office 365 now supports larger email messages 2 v2

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New Office Delve People Experiences in Office 365

Today, we are announcing enhancements to Office 365 that leverage Delve for easier people-based discovery and greater self-expression:

  • People-based search and discovery—Enhancing the user profile experience
  • A new way to express yourself in Office 365—Introducing the new Office 365 page authoring canvas
  • Office Delve goes mobile—unlocking better discovery through people—New mobile apps for Android and iPhone

Let delve into the details here

NoSQL database service Azure DocumentDB now Generally Available

We are pleased to announce that Azure DocumentDB is now generally available. DocumentDB is a fully managed NoSQL document database service that allows applications to query and process JSON data at scale. With general availability, DocumentDB is now offered in three purchase options; each with reserved performance, hourly billing and 99.95% availability. Today we are also releasing a new open source data migration tool to ease the movement of existing data from other database systems to DocumentDB.

Azure DocumentDB We built DocumentDB in response to the increasing demands of mobile first, cloud first application development. NoSQL databases are becoming the tool of choice for many developers however running and managing these databases can be complicated and costly, especially at scale. DocumentDB is delivered as a fully managed database-as-a-service (DBaaS) with built in high availability, SQL query over indexed JSON and multi-document transaction processing.

Read post here

Microsoft Azure Media Services expands End-to-End cloud video platform with Live Encoding, Azure Media Player and new partnerships

  • Live Encoding Preview – Live encoding expands on the industry proven live cloud platform and can be combined with dynamic packaging, dynamic encryption, sub-clipping, dynamic manifest manipulation, ad-marker insertion, and seamless live to on-demand capabilities to build comprehensive live, linear, and cloud DVR workflows. Common use cases include event based streaming with dynamic ad-insertion and 24×7 linear streaming with cloud DVR requirements. This private preview of Azure Media Services live encoding is the same solution that has been used to power some of the largest events on the planet such as the Superbowl 2015 and 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. To access this private preview please send mail to amslived@microsoft.com. Look out for more details of the service and options for getting early access in the Azure Media blog over the next couple of days.  To learn more about live encoding, click here.
  • Azure Media Player – Azure Media Player is an automated player solution that allows content owners to reach the most popular devices with the best player and streaming format. Azure Media Player provides a simple and customizable developer experience for content owners and partners to reach media viewers across a wide range of browsers and devices. It utilizes industry standards such as HTML5, Media Source Extensions (MSE) and Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) to provide an enriched adaptive streaming experience across browsers and has a seamless fall back to browser plugins like Flash & Silverlight. Watch out for a more in depth blog on Azure Media Player over the next couple of days.  To learn nor about Azure Media Player, click here.
  • Spanish Language Support for Azure Media Indexer – We’re also launching an addition to our popular audio Indexing service to enable customers to increase accessibility and discoverability of their Spanish-language content. This addition expands the powerful Speech to Text engine from its current English language capabilities and enables greater discoverability and monetization of audio tracks for scenarios ranging from sports to surveillance and security. Look out for more details of the service and access options in the Azure Media blog over the next couple of days.  To learn more about Azure Media Indexer, click here.
  • New compliance certifications – Protecting premium media content in the cloud is a requirement for content owners and distributors, and to meet these needs, Microsoft Azure Media Services has obtained the Content Delivery Security Association’s Content Protection and Security Program certification. Now with the added validation of CDSA certification content owners on the Azure Media Services platform can rest assured that their content is protected with enterprise grade security.  Look out for more details on our certification on the Azure Media blog over the next couple of days.
  • Clearleap Partnership – Building on our rich partner ecosystem, Azure Media Services is proud to partner strategically with Clearleap a powerful OTT video solution provider. Through Clearleap’s integration with the industry proven Azure Media Services platform and their own range of SaaS services they will provide a full range of on-demand and live solutions. For more information on our partnership, click here.

Office 365 - What’s new: March 2015

Lots of updates for the Office 365 service this month.  Take a look at this summary, and then hit the blog entry for much more detail.

For Office 365 business users, three new previews are available: Office 2016 IT Pro and Developer Preview, Skype for Business technical preview, and Office 2013 client modern authentication public preview. Admins can now manage access to data on mobile devices, and use the admin app to perform common tasks on the go. Excel Power Query and Delve got significant improvements, and there’s a new Salesforce app for Outlook. And for JavaScript developers, new capabilities for working with the Office 365 APIs are here.

Microsoft Unveils New Container Technologies for the Next Generation Cloud

Last October, Microsoft and Docker, Inc. jointly announced plans to bring containers to developers across the Docker and Windows ecosystems via Windows Server Containers, available in the next version of Windows Server. We will be unveiling the first live demonstration in a few weeks, starting at the BUILD conference. Today, we are taking containerization one step further by expanding the scenarios and workloads developers can address with containers:

  • Hyper-V Containers, a new container deployment option with enhanced isolation powered by Hyper-V virtualization.
  • Nano Server, a minimal footprint installation of Windows Server that is highly optimized for the cloud, and ideal for containers.

This is really spectacular news that will make it easier for our customers to rapidly deploy enterprise applications on the Azure cloud in order to benefit from the availability, scalability and performance of Azure. 

Read more on the Azure Blog entry: Microsoft Unveils New Container Technologies for the Next Generation Cloud

Making Windows 10 More Personal and More Secure with Windows Hello

Windows Hello

Windows Hello introduces system support for biometric authentication – using your face, iris, or fingerprint to unlock your devices – with technology that is much safer than traditional passwords. You– uniquely you– plus your device are the keys to your Windows experience, apps, data and even websites and services – not a random assortment of letters and numbers that are easily forgotten, hacked, or written down and pinned to a bulletin board. Modern sensors recognize your unique personal characteristics to sign-you-in on a supporting Windows 10 device.


Azure How-To Video Series

Do you have 15 minutes?  Instead of taking a nap, why not invest that time to some of these Azure service walk-through videos?  There are four videos in there now, with more to come.