New Azure features that focus on innovation from cloud to edge

New Partner Center in Azure Synapse 

Azure Synapse ecosystem partners now can include their solutions directly in a new partner center that’s accessed from Azure Synapse Studio. 

Azure Synapse is an enterprise analytics service that accelerates time to insight across data warehouses and big data systems. Azure Synapse Studio provides a workspace for data prep, data management, data exploration, data warehousing, big data and AI tasks. 

The new partner center allows Azure Synapse customers to browse and research partner solutions, connect to the partner service through an API and automatically start a trial. The capability is available to all users performing analytics projects with a Synapse workspace, allowing them to also explore adding independent software vendor (ISV) solutions to their analytics. Trials can be implemented directly from the Synapse Studio, allowing customers to quickly test ISV solutions. 

Customers now can enact the experience in the Synapse Studio for Incorta, Informatica, Fivetran, Precisely and Qlik Data Integration. 

Azure Stack HCI updates 

Microsoft has introduced more product features for Azure Stack HCI, its cloud-connected, hyperconverged infrastructure cluster solution that uses validated hardware to run virtualized workloads on-premises. The features include simplified guest licensing activation and enhanced infrastructure security. 

Azure Stack HCI now supports Hyper-V’s Automatic Virtual Machine Activation (AVMA) feature for Windows Server. Customers with existing Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition activation keys can enter them directly into the Azure Stack HCI host using the Windows Admin Center or PowerShell. Virtual machines (VMs) running Windows Server automatically will inherit activation from the host, so product keys for each VM don’t need to be managed separately. 

Secured-core server, which is available for Azure Stack HCI, is becoming a required component for HCI-integrated systems. Secured-core server simplifies security enablement at the server level by resecuring hardware, firmware and operating system capabilities to help protect against threats. It proactively disrupts practical attack vectors, according to Microsoft. 

Azure Event Grid integration with Azure Kubernetes Service 

AKS as an event source for Azure Event Grid now is in preview. 

AKS simplifies deploying a managed Kubernetes cluster in Microsoft Azure by offloading the operational overhead to Azure. To automate AKS operations, customers now can subscribe to AKS events for a new Kubernetes version upgrade availability and a new node image version upgrade availability. Users choose the Azure resource to which they want to subscribe, provide an event handler or WebHook endpoint, and then take action when the subscribed event occurs. 

Managing Azure Arc-Enabled SQL Server with Azure Lighthouse 

Azure SQL — a family of managed, secure and intelligent products that use the SQL Server database engine in the Azure cloud – will be generally available on July 30 as an Azure Arc-enabled resource to be managed with Azure Lighthouse, joining Windows Server, Linux and Kubernetes. 

“This enables customers to consistently manage their hybrid SQL Server environments during and after the move — on their terms,” Tanuj Bansal, Microsoft’s senior director of Azure product marketing, said in a blog post. “Azure Arc now integrates with Azure Lighthouse, giving partners additional opportunity to manage resources across edge, datacenter and multi-cloud environments.” 

Azure Lighthouse enables cross- and multi-tenant management, allowing for higher automation, scalability and enhanced governance across resources and tenants. Partners already using it to manage multiple customer data services across environments will see increased control and agility with Azure Arc-enabled Azure SQL, according to Microsoft. 

New Azure Virtual Desktop pricing coming 

Microsoft will introduce a new monthly, per-user access pricing option for Azure Virtual Desktop aimed at helping ISVs secure new business opportunities as they deliver apps from the cloud to customers and business partners, and expand their SaaS businesses. Azure Virtual Desktop is a desktop and app virtualization service that runs on the cloud. 

The new pricing option takes effect on Jan. 1, 2022, but Microsoft is offering free promotional access through Dec. 31, 2021, for streaming first- or third-party apps to external users. Organizations must continue to pay for the underlying Azure infrastructure. 

Azure migration and modernization program 

Microsoft is expanding programs and extending security updates to support cloud migration and modernization. 

The Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AMMP), previously called the Azure Migration Program, now covers more migration and modernization offerings across apps, infrastructure and data, including support for Azure Arc, a set of technologies that brings Azure’s cloud management capabilities and services to virtually any environment. 

Azure migrate app containerization update 

App Containerization, a new feature of Azure Migrate that went into public preview in March, helps modernize existing ASP.NET and Java web apps by packaging them as containers and deploying the containerized apps to AKS. It augments existing Azure Migrate features such as the migration of servers to Azure VMs and migration of SQL databases to Azure SQL. 

Azure Migrate App Containerization now supports deploying containerized apps to the Azure App Service’s Web App for Containers, which makes it easier to deploy and run containerized applications on Windows and Linux. 

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