Azure Updates: Blockchain Workbench; Private Link; Azure Batch; Security compliance; IoT Central

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As January moved ahead, Microsoft representatives and Azure partners focused on AI, security, storage and database tools, amid the excitement around the NRF and CES conferences. Customers and users learned more about uptake of IoT for retail with the release of the sixth IoT Signals for Retail report and discovered a few prominent IoT use cases for retail around the world.

Among geographic updates, Blockchain Workbench 1.8.0 is coming to West US 2, Japan East and North Europe, with the Workbench Solidity compiler upgraded to version 0.5.10. Lab Services now automatically installs GPU drivers into GPU machines, sparing users the need to pick and install them themselves. Beginning in June, HDInsight will enforce TLS 1.2 or newer versions for all HTTPS connections and partners are advised to help customers get ready for the change. Users will discover that there’s a new version of Log Analytics gateway available in Azure Monitor as well as a way to use third-party email providers to send customized Active Directory B2C sign up or reset emails.