Azure Updates: Database updates; IoT Signals; FedRAMP High; Zero trust architecture

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With the global coronavirus outbreak continuing to dominate headlines, Microsoft continued taking steps it first initiated in February to support partners in the struggling Chinese market. Regional partner 21Vianet is offering a three months Azure VDI services in China for free, providing a PaaS system for secure remote work.

Those using Azure compute and database resources had a number of small updates to keep track of over the past week. A free tier of Cosmos DB is available, for running small workloads, applying a discount or developing and testing apps. The free tier provides the first 400 RU/s and 5 GB of storage for no charge. Cosmos DB also added new Jupyter notebook features in-preview, permitting users to do bulk uploads and run queries containing VALUE and GROUP clauses. For databases more generally, planned maintenance notifications are in-preview for MySQL, MariaDB, and PostgreSQL.

DevTest Labs has increased its capabilities so that users can view Security Center alerts for Resource Management environments. Meanwhile, NVv4 and NDv2 VMs are generally available in East US, South Central US and West Europe. NDv2 VMs are geared toward high-performance computing machine learning and AI workloads, armed with eight 32 GB GPUs. By contrast, NVv4 VMs support up to 32 vCPUs and 112 GB of RAM with the express goal of improving cost-effectiveness for low-intensity GPU workloads.

Among other updates, automatic instance repairs for Azure VM scale sets are now in-preview, Site Recovery’s mobility service supports automated JetPatch deployments and Files Active Directory authentication is in-preview. HDInsight now fully supports Apache analytics services such as Kafka, Hadoop and Spark, while the preview of Backup Reports promises to leverage Monitor Logs and Workbooks to track usage and do audits of workloads such as VMs or SAP HANA. Additionally, PowerShell 7.0 is out, Data Factory is adding single-row lookups, Flatten transformations and a boosted UI.

Azure IoT corporate vice president Sam George explored the implications of Microsoft’s new IoT Signals report. IDC indicates that by 2025, 41.6 billion IoT devices will generate 79 zettabytes of data, with healthcare seeing some of the most dramatic growth, particularly for logistics and operations. Full adoption of IoT devices is still somewhat limited by a shortage of skilled workers. Fortunately, he wrote that Microsoft is committed to closing the gap and is investing $5 billion in IoT by 2022. As part of the report, Microsoft analyzed responses from 150 healthcare organizations, with 85 percent seeing IoT as critical to future success. Principal program manager Cory Newton-Smith encouraged users to take advantage of Azure Sphere, IoT Central and IoT Hub to get up and running. IoT Central healthcare application templates for patient monitoring apps may be especially helpful along with the FHIR Connector for Internet of Medical Things. Just this week, improvements came out for IoT Python SDK v2, with expanded MQTT connection resiliency.