Azure Data Factory March new features update

Azure Data Factory March new features update

Hello, everyone! In March, we added a lot of great new capabilities to Azure Data Factory, including high demanding features like loading data from SAP HANA, SAP Business Warehouse (BW) and SFTP, performance enhancement of directly loading from Data Lake Store into SQL Data Warehouse, data movement support for the first region in the UK (UK South), and a new Spark activity for rich data transformation. We can’t wait to share more details with you, following is a complete list of Azure Data Factory March new features:

Support data loading from SAP HANA and SAP Business Warehouse

SAP is one of the most widely-used enterprise softwares in the world. We hear you that it’s crucial for Microsoft to empower customers to integrate their existing SAP system with Azure to unlock business insights. We are happy to announce that we have enabled loading data from SAP HANA and SAP Business Warehouse (BW) into various Azure data stores for advanced analytics and reporting, including Azure Blob, Azure Data Lake, and Azure SQL DW, etc.

SAP HAHA and SAP BW connectors in Copy Wizard

For more information about connecting to SAP HANA and SAP BW, refer to Azure Data Factory offers SAP HANA and Business Warehouse data integration.

Support data loading from SFTP

You can now use Azure Data Factory to copy data from SFTP servers into various data stores in Azure or On-Premise environments, including Azure Blob/Azure Data Lake/Azure SQL DW/etc. A full support matrix can be found in Supported data stores and formats. You can author copy activity using the intuitive Copy wizard (screenshot below) or JSON scripting. Refer to SFTP connector documentation for more details.

SFTP connector in Copy Wizard

Performance enhancement of direct data loading from Data Lake Store to Azure SQL Data Warehouse via PolyBase

Data Factory Copy Activity now supports loading data from Data Lake Store to Azure SQL Data Warehouse directly via PolyBase. When using the Copy Wizard, PolyBase is by default turned on and your source file compatibility will be automatically checked. You can monitor whether PolyBase is used in the activity run details.
If you are currently not using PolyBase or staged copy plus PolyBase for copying data from Data Lake Store to Azure SQL Data Warehouse, we suggest checking your source data format and updating the pipeline to enable PolyBase and remove staging settings for performance improvement. For more detailed information, refer to Use PolyBase to load data into Azure SQL Data Warehouse and Azure Data Factory makes it even easier and convenient to uncover insights from data when using Data Lake Store with SQL Data Warehouse.

Spark activity for rich data transformation

Apache Spark for Azure HDInsight is built on an in-memory compute engine, which enables high performance querying on big data. Azure Data Factory now supports Spark Activity against Bring-Your-Own HDInsight clusters. Users can now operationalize Spark job executions through Spark Activity in Azure Data Factory.
Since Spark job may have multiple dependencies such as jar packages (placed in the java CLASSPATH) and python files (placed on the PYTHONPATH), you will need to follow a predefined folder structure for your Spark script files. For more detailed information about JSON scripting of the Spark Activity, refer to Invoke Spark programs from Azure Data Factory pipelines.

Max allowed cloud Data Movement Units increase

Cloud Data Movement Units (DMU) reflects the powerfulness of copy executor used to empower your cloud-to-cloud copy. To copy multiple files with large volume from Blob storage/Data Lake Store/Amazon S3/cloud FTP/cloud SFTP into Blob storage/Data Lake Store/Azure SQL Database, higher DMUs usually provide you better throughput. Now you can specify up to 32 DMUs for large copy runs. Learn more from cloud data movement units and parallel copy.

UK data center now available for data movement

Azure Data Factory data movement service is now available in the UK, in addition to the existing 16 data centers.With that, you can leverage Data Factory to copy data from Cloud and On-Premise data sources into various supported Azure data stores located in the UK. Learn more about the globally available data movement and how it works from Globally available data movement, and the Azure Data Factory’s Data Movement is now available in the UK blog post.

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Assigning multiple users to a task is now possible in Microsoft Planner

Assigning multiple users to a task is now possible in Microsoft Planner

As written on
As of today, Microsoft Planner users can assign multiple people to a task—a feature that tops the list at Now, users can assign more than just one user to a task in Planner, and every user that is assigned the task will see it on their My Tasks page.

Our goal is to support additional collaboration, and we will continue to develop features and enhancements that our users want. Feel free to join the conversation about this feature and many others at our TechCommunity page. Also, please share your feedback with us about Planner features you would like to see at
—The Planner team

Microsoft’s Windows 10 Creators Update will launch April 11


Launch of Microsoft's Windows 10 in Sydney on July 29, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 Creators Update will launch April 11

By Frederic Lardinois as written on
After months of teasing, Microsoft is finally ready to ship the Windows 10 Creators Update, the next major iteration of its desktop operating system, to its users. The free update will start rolling out globally on April 11. This process usually takes a few weeks, but users will also be able to force the update from their Windows settings.
As the name implies, the focus of the update is on “creators.” Microsoft is going for a pretty broad interpretation of this theme here, but the highlights of the release are improved support for the upcoming crop of Windows-centric mixed reality and virtual reality headsets (especially for developers), better support for games thanks to a new dedicated game mode and built-in streaming to Beam, as well as new creative tools like Paint 3D.

The update also features the new night light mode to help you sleep better, screen time limits that parents can set for their children, and updates to the Windows Hello security feature.
When I talked to Windows General Manager Aaron Woodman earlier this month, he noted that what he has been seeing over the last few years is a pivot back to the roots of Microsoft and Windows — and he sees this update as another example of this. In his view, the three big highlights of the release are Windows Mixed Reality (which was once called Windows Holographic), the new gaming features, and the updates to the Edge browser.
Indeed, while it was long fashionable to make fun of Microsoft’s browser efforts and the early Edge releases definitely had a few usability issues, it’s now become a respectable competitor. Woodman noted that Microsoft wanted to first “nail the fundamentals” like performance and security and has now worked on other areas like tab management and the integration of Cortana (which actually works quite well).
With this update, the company is doing something interesting in that it is bringing e-books to the Windows Store, which will be displayed in Edge. At first, this seems like an odd move. We have all been accustomed to using specialized apps and even devices for reading e-books. Woodman, however, argues that while this holds true on mobile, on the PC, the browser is the default place for people to consume text.
The update will start rolling out on April 11. How long it’ll take to arrive on every PC remains to be seen and Microsoft tunes the process depending on the feedback it gets.
In addition to announcing the release date for this update, Microsoft also today announced that it will bring its Surface Book and Surface Studio hardware to more markets. The Surface Book can now be pre-ordered in Austria, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It will ship April 20.
The Surface Studio (and Dial) can now be pre-ordered in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. There, too, it will ship April 20.

Outlook 2016 for Mac adds Touch Bar support and now comes with your favorite apps

Outlook 2016 for Mac adds Touch Bar support and now comes with your favorite apps

As written on
Last week, Outlook for Mac released two highly requested features designed to help you get more done, quickly. First, we added support for the Touch Bar for MacBook Pro users. Through the Touch Bar, we intelligently put the most common inbox, formatting and view commands at your fingertips—all based on what you’re doing in Outlook.
Additionally, we’re bringing your favorite apps to your inbox with add-ins for Outlook for Mac. Whether it’s translating emails on the fly or updating your notes or project board, you will now be able to accomplish all this and more right from your inbox. These add-ins are also available across Outlook for Windows, iOS and the web, so your favorite apps are always there to help you accomplish tasks quickly.
Here’s a look at what’s new!

Intuitive commands at your fingertips with Touch Bar support in Outlook for Mac

The Touch Bar in Outlook intelligently provides quick access to the most commonly used commands as you work on email and manage your calendar. When composing a new mail or meeting request, the Touch Bar displays the common formatting options. When viewing your calendar, you can switch between different views. And when viewing the reminders window, you can join an online meeting with one tap on the Touch Bar.

Support for Touch Bar in Outlook for Mac is available to all Office 365 subscribers, as well as all Office 2016 for Mac customers.

Accomplish tasks quickly with new add-ins

Add-ins bring your favorite apps right inside Outlook, so you can accomplish tasks quickly without needing to switch back and forth between email and other apps. Last year, we announced the rollout of add-ins to Outlook 2016 for Mac in Office Insider. We are now making add-ins available to all Outlook 2016 for Mac customers who have Exchange 2013 Service Pack 1 or higher, or Office 365 or mailboxes. Use these add-ins to translate emails on the fly, edit a record in your CRM system, update your notes or project board, or set up a meeting over coffee and more—all without leaving Outlook. Outlook for Mac customers can take advantage of all Outlook add-ins available in the Office store, including:
To start using add-ins, just click the Store icon on the Outlook ribbon to open the Office Store. Next, search for the add-in you are looking for and turn its toggle to On. You will then see the add-in command appear in your inbox and can start using it. You just need to install add-ins once and they will be available for use across Outlook on the web, Windows, Mac and iOS.

Office Store brings you Power BI custom visuals

Office Store brings you Power BI custom visuals

As written on
The Office Store is introducing Power BI custom visuals to download and use in Power BI service reports and Power BI Desktop. Users will be able to easily discover and quickly download BI visualizations that interact with data to find key insights and drive important business decisions. Power BI custom visuals provide compelling data visualizations created by members of the community and by Microsoft. They behave just like the native rich visualizations already included with Power BI but can also be filtered, highlighted, edited and shared.
Here are some examples:

Check Power BI custom visuals out for yourself—get started today!