Azure announcements bring new features and general availability of services

Kareem Anderson

With most eyes focused on Microsoft’s shareholders meeting today, the Azure team has quietly announced a slew of features that have recently become available for customers.
Beginning with a public preview of Azure Security Center, customer can now get their hands on resources such as:

  • Easily deploy integrated Microsoft and partner security solutions from Barracuda, F5, and Trend Micro and soon from Fortinet, Check Point, Cisco, Imperva, Incapsula, and CloudFlare
  • Get alerted to threats detected using advanced analytics, including machine learning and behavioral profiling, and Microsoft’s vast global threat intelligence assets
  • Take control of cloud security with policies that let you recommend and monitor security configurations
  • Understand the security state of your Azure resources

Customers can get access to the new Security Center by visiting the Azure portal or by signing up for a free Azure trial here.
Also announced today, is the general availability of App Service Mobile Apps for Azure. Recently, the Azure team rolled out a handful of updates to the App Service Mobile Apps, but today’s release now includes one-click zero downtime migration capabilities from existing Mobile Services to App Service. Once again, Azure customers benefit from the new version with features such as:

  • Easily connect your app to data in the cloud or on-premises, including SQL Azure, SQL on-premises, Mongo, Azure Table Storage, SaaS APIs like Dynamics and Salesforce.
  • Enable your app to work with data offline and sync with above-mentioned data sources
  • Build mobile backend APIs in seconds without writing any code
  • Intuitive SDKs for iOS, Android, Windows, as well as cross-platform frameworks like Xamarin, and Cordova
  • Extend your mobile backend with custom code by leveraging App Service Mobile .NET or Node.js server side SDK, or directly via REST frameworks for other languages supported on App Service including PHP, Java, or Python
  • Cross-platform push notifications to iOS, Android, Windows, Kindle and other devices (this capability is also available as a separate service: Notification Hubs)
  • Authenticate and Authorize your users without adding any backend code using App Service Authentication/Authorization features

The new features are 99.95% ready to use with SLA as of today as well; the only exclusion comes from work with the preview version of server-side Node.js SDK.
Those interested in trying out the new App Service Mobile Apps can start for free here. No credit card or sign up necessary.
Lastly, the Azure team has also announced the release of Azure Portal to the masses. The wait for a general release of Azure Portal was due to the Azure team striving for a quality measured release. The team wanted to nail usability, performance and reliability before releasing Azure Portal to the world. Now that the Azure team feels confident enough in the new release, customer can now make use of:
Search in the top bar

  • We added a search box in the  top bar enabling you to search through all of your resources.

List of resources accessible from the left navigation

  • Your resources are always available, one click away. Also, the browse list (available from the left navigation area) provides access to all Azure services in a filterable list.

Improvements to Browse resource experience

  • Filtering by name and subscription is now enabled within browse and allows to choose your columns. When browsing through resources and click on a resource, the browse blade is automatically collapsed to a list that displays only resource names. If you close the resource blade, then the browse blade is restored. This experience makes it easier to both navigate through a list of resources and focus on one resource.

Recently accessed resources

  • We added a recently used category to browse and made it available in the default left navigation area.

Show All resources in the default dashboard

  • We added the All resources tile to the default dashboard for quicker access to your resources.

Other features include navigation bar customizations, keyboard shortcuts, fixes to the browse list, and support of more services and features within the portal.
Microsoft is encouraging those interested in bringing all their services over to the new portal here.
Let us know your thoughts about today’s announcements.