Announcement of new services and increased performance of the Azure cloud platform

    On December 11, 2014 , the new features of the Azure cloud platform were introduced , which open up new scenarios for developers and IT professionals, can achieve even higher productivity and increase the functionality of cloud solutions. Among other things, the following innovations were introduced for the Azure platform:

    • Storage the Storage Premium . New high-speed cloud storage;
    • RemoteApp release . Launching the commercial operation of the RemoteApp service to organize access to desktop applications on any mobile platform;
    • SQL Database Update . New features of the cloud DBMS service;
    • New Media Services features . The commercial operation of the organization of live video broadcasts Live Media Streaming;
    • Azure Search Update . Major update to Azure Search's cloud-based search-as-a-service;
    • New features of DocumentDB . New features of NoSQL database optimized for JSON in the cloud; new tools for Java developers;
    • Site Recovery release . Entering into commercial operation the disaster management service for medium-sized businesses and offices.

    Consider all the announcements in order,

    Premium Storage

    The Premium Storage service introduced earlier became available for public testing ( detailed announcement ). Premium Storage offers a new level of performance when working with Azure Storage data, providing the ability to get over 50,000 IOPS and up to 32 TB of space in a single virtual machine. At the same time, the Premium Storage built on the basis of SSD guarantees delays in read operations in less than 1 ms.

    Each Premium Storage drive connected to a virtual machine offers the following features:


    You can combine multiple drives into an array to get increased throughput.

    Azure Storage’s new level of performance erases the difference between the cloud and the on-premises server and allows you to deploy heavy solutions such as SQL Server, Dynamics AX, Dynamics CRM, Exchange Server, MySQL, Oracle Database, IBM DB2, and SAP Business Suite in a cloud environment.

    You can sign up for a preview version of Premium Storage here . Technical details are described here .

    RemoteApp Release

    We already wrote about the release of Azure RemoteApp in commercial operation. Azure RemoteApp delivers Windows Server-based applications from Azure via RDP.

    Users can access their applications remotely from almost anywhere, anytime and from a variety of devices. Applications are centrally hosted on Azure, but work as if they were running on end-user devices. It can be either Microsoft Office applications or any other applications that you can download and pre-install in the cloud yourself. Rich hybrid scripting capabilities even enable complex distributed hybrid solutions

    , hosting part of the backend services in the local infrastructure, some in IaaS, and the application delivery itself will work on the basis of Azure RemoteApp .

    Among the key advantages of the service are the following:

    • Launch Windows applications from anywhere
    • Scale quickly to meet changing business needs
    • Protecting Confidential Enterprise Applications
    • Support for cloud and hybrid deployments

    You can find additional information on the service description page by downloading the service client to your platform by visiting the development team’s blog .

    We separately recommend the study of a new free course Using applications anytime anywhere with Azure RemoteApp from Microsoft strategic expert Alexander Shapoval

    Azure SQL Database Update

    Azure SQL Database has received significant functional updates. The next generation of the cloud database service released in the preview offers SQL Server 2014 server features and capabilities such as column indexes, in-memory technologies and CLR programmability, T-SQL Window functions, XML index and change tracking.

    In addition, the transition of Azure SQL Database to the running SQL Server 2014 kernel can significantly increase the performance of solutions. In internal tests, using 600 million rows of data, the new SQL Database service showed a five-fold improvement in performance ! And when using the function of column indexes and in-memory a hundred times !

    Key features of the new version of Azure SQL Database are:

    • Improvement in managing large databases . The functions of parallel queries , table partitioning, online indexing, rebuilding of large indexes (the 2 GB limit was removed) and other alter database commands became available to developers ;
    • Support for more programmable features . CLR programming functions, T-SQL Windows functions, XML indexes and change tracking support have become available to developers;
    • Increase productivity to 100x . Thanks to the support of in-memory technologies and column indices, the performance of solutions can be increased up to a hundred times; 
    • Improved troubleshooting and monitoring features . Added support for Extended Events (XEvents) and access to more than 100 new table views through an expanded set of Database Management Views (DMVs);
    • New tariff and S3 performance level . Introduced a new tariff and performance level for Azure SQL Database - S3 solutions with a performance of 100 DTU. Details .

    A more detailed list and description of all the innovations can be found at this link .

    New Media Services Features

    On the basis of the Azure Media Services media platform, various companies around the world (such as NBC Sports) have built live broadcasts of such major events as the English Premier League, NHL matches, Sunday Night Football, the Sochi Olympics and the 2014 FIFA World Cup . Live Channels Media Streaming technology is now available for commercial use in commercial use. You can learn more about live streaming from this blog post . The official page of the service and a detailed description are available here . Description of prices you can find on this page . Refer to the MSDN documentation for technical details .

    Live streaming

    Azure Search Update

    The new Azure Search service , which offers full-text indexing and document search as a service, has new features and updated management capabilities. First of all, the Azure Management Portal has new capabilities for managing Azure Search indexes: Other new portal features include the ability to monitor the number of documents in the index and get information about the fields included in the index. In addition, the portal added the ability to create or modify scoring profiles , adjusting the search results to your needs (previously it was available only through the API): Great news for Russian-speaking developers will be support for 27 new languages ​​by the Azure Search service

    image image


    , including Russian with support for stemming .

    To better manage Azure Search tasks, the new Azure Search Management REST API has been introduced to perform administrative tasks of creating a service, scaling, and others. You can find examples of using the API at this link .

    New DocumentDB Features

    The latest Azure DocumentDB NoSQL database service (optimized for JSON, runs on SSD) continues to evolve and offers new management features through the portal:

    • Adding JSON documents through Document Explorer
    • DocumentDB SQL query syntax highlighting.


    New features make it easier to work with the service through the Azure management portal. You can communicate with the developers of the service through the forum . You can try the Azure DocumentDB service here .

    Java SDK for DocumentDB

    Another good news is the release of a separate toolkit for Java developers. Now, with the help of the DocumentDB SDK for Java, developers can easily add DocumentDB database support to their Java projects. SDK libraries are open source.

    Azure Site Recovery Release

    The Azure Site Recovery service , which is designed to provide disaster tolerance for deployed solutions, introduced new functionality designed specifically for offices and medium and small businesses.

    With the new functionality, users now have the opportunity to replicate, protect and restore virtual machines in Microsoft Azure. With this update, users will no longer need to use System Center Virtual Machine Manager for recovery tasks between Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure.

    There are several recovery modes for users: Test Failover for testing the infrastructure against protection requirements; Planned Failover for the planned migration of all data and virtual machines to the Azure cloud; and Unplanned Failover to restore infrastructure in Azure after a failure in the local data center.

    Pricing information is available here . Learn more about Azure Site Recovery

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    Which of the announcements are the most interesting for you?

    • 38% New Azure Storage 16 Productive Storage
    • 40.4% RemoteApp Service Release 17
    • 45.2% New Version of Azure SQL Database 19
    • 16.6% New Media Services 7 Features
    • 16.6% Azure Search 7 Upgrade
    • 35.7% New DocumentDB Features 15
    • 11.9% Site Recovery 5 Release

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