Latest Azure News: Government Secret data centers; Azure CDN; Database capacity; Data Accelerator; Automation management

April 24 2019

Microsoft is taking big steps to lure the US federal government away from AWS. On April 17, Lily Kim, general manager for Azure Global  announced two new Government Secret data centers in preview and awaiting accreditation, slated for the US Department of Defense and Intelligence Community. The two data centers are so secretive that Microsoft won't reveal their locations publicly, stating simply that they are 500 miles apart. Across all Azure Government regions, Microsoft is enabling DoD Impact Level 5 accommodating controlled unclassified information.

The Azure Content Delivery Network is adding new security and user features. With a "bring your own certificate" approach, users can connect third-party certificates to Azure CDN from Verizon or provision Azure-managed custom domain SSLs from Akamai endpoints. The team also added DNS Root Apex support and new edge sites in Berlin, Dubai, Honolulu, Atlanta, Brisbane and Perth.

Reserved Capacity pricing for Azure SQL Data Warehouse became generally available, allowing users to cut their data warehouse usage costs by up to 65 percent by reserving compute power for current and future clusters. Database users will discover a few other recent updates. MariaDB has the option to scale to 64 vCores in general pricing tiers or 32 vCores in memory optimized tiers, while Azure Database for PostgreSQL added asynchronous replication from one server to five other PostgreSQL servers.

Microsoft has run an internal project since 2017 developing Data Accelerator with a SQL-Spark syntax adapted to time-windowing, designer rules, query building a Dev-Test loop and other features. Starting on April 18, the system is being made open-source.

Tyler Fox, program manager for HDInsight announced the launch of new management SDKs which encompass Python, .NET and Java. Apache Hadoop 3 is also now available for HDInsight 4.0.

Among geographic updates, Availability Zones became generally available in Japan East, while Azure DNS joined the China regions. Application Insights is available in East US 2 and East Asia. And Microsoft has plans for two new data centers near Phoenix, Arizona.

General availability for Azure Front Door Service began on April 17, bringing with it anycast app acceleration, global HTTP load balancing, path-based routing and a variety of URL redirect, SSL offload and rate limiting features. On the same day, Web Application Firewall for Azure Front Door entered preview, with a managed ruleset for blocking common attack methods like bots, SQL injection or cross site scripting. Users can create and update these rules using PowerShell, CLI or APIs.

A preview of the pod security policy for Kubernetes Service includes pod creation authorization, as well as new controls to validate pod requests or to determine when pods should be scheduled on a cluster. Liza Mash Levin, senior program manager for Azure Sentinel described machine learning capabilities in Sentinel, in a blog post. Kusto queries made available on GitHub help with time series analysis for user authentication, preventing anomalous resource creation or spotting unusual firewall traffic.

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