Eastern Cloud Blog

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

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.

How to assess security, compliance and privacy capabilities in Office 365

In keeping with our commitment to provide customers the utmost transparency, we have released a detailed overview of how Office 365 controls map to the security, privacy, compliance and risk management controls defined in the Cloud Security Alliance Cloud Control Matrix (CSA CCM).  You can read more about this and download the document from this Office 365 Blog post.

Microsoft Ignite 2016: Registration is open

Microsoft Ignite gives you five days of hands-on learning, industry insights, and direct access to product experts—all in one place. Secure your spot now.  Mark your calendar for September 26–30, 2016 in Atlanta. Be there when top industry leaders talk about what’s next, get direct access to the people who built the products you use every day and surround yourself with smart people talking tech.

  • 700+ sessions
  • Interactive Digital Labs
  • Direct access to product experts
  • Deep dives and demos
  • 100+ vendors at the expo
  • Product roadmaps, vision, and strategies
  • One-on-one discussions
  • Ask the Experts

Get more info and register now at https://ignite.microsoft.com

Helping customers achieve more at the best prices

The below table shows the price reductions using our US East 2 region as an example. The Dv2 price reductions will take effect early February and we will share full details on this page.

Virtual Machine Type Price Reduction
(Windows Server Instances)
Price Reduction
(Linux Instances)
D1-D5 v2 10% 14%
D11-14 v2 13% 17%


It is worthwhile to note that the Azure Dv2 instances - unlike AWS EC2 instances - have load balancing and auto-scaling built-in at no additional charge. This means you get even more value from Azure. In addition to delivering great prices, we provide further discounting and more flexible purchasing programs to support your journey to the cloud.

  • For customers with Enterprise Agreements, you not only get price reductions like these, but also your price points are even lower – in many cases well below available AWS pricing – re-enforcing our commitment to be the number one enterprise cloud.
  • Unlike AWS, Azure virtual machine usage is billed on per-minute rate so you only pay for the compute that you use. With AWS you pay for an hour even if you only use a few minutes.
  • For developers, Microsoft provides up to $150 free Azure credits per month along with discounts for Dev/Test workloads through the Microsoft Developer Network program. Any developer will be able to get $25 free Azure credits per month for one year with the Dev Essentials program coming soon.
  • With the Azure Compute Pre-Purchase plan, you can receive up to 63% cost savings when you pre-purchase your virtual machines for one year.
  • If you’re moving a significant number of workloads to the cloud and are looking for great pricing with lots of flexibility, check out the Azure Compute option. With this program, you can run any compute instance in Azure and realize discounts up to 60% in exchange for add-ons to your Windows Server annuity licenses.

Read more here...