Azure SQL Data Sync Refresh

By Joshua Gnanayutham as written on azure.microsoft.com
We are happy to announce our Azure SQL Data Sync Refresh! With Azure SQL Data Sync users can easily synchronize data bi-directionally between multiple Azure SQL databases and/or on-premises SQL Databases. This release includes several major improvements to the service including new Azure portal support, PowerShell and REST API support, and enhancements to security and privacy.
This update will be available for selected existing Data Sync customers starting June 1st. It will be available for all customers by June 15th. Please email us with your subscription ID if you’d like early access.

What’s new?

Data Sync on the new Azure portal

Data Sync is now available in the new Azure portal for select internal customers. This will be available for all customers in mid-June. You can now manage Data Sync in the same place you manage all your other Azure resources. Data Sync will be retired from the old portal after July 1, 2017.

PowerShell programmability and REST APIs (Available July 2017)

Previously in Data Sync, creating Sync groups and making changes had to be done manually through the UI. This could be a tedious, time consuming process, especially in complex Sync topologies with many member databases or Sync groups. Starting in July Data Sync will support PowerShell and REST APIs which developers can leverage to make these tasks faster and easier. This is also great for the many users who are comfortable with and prefer using PowerShell.

Better security, better privacy, better resilience

In the previous design, Data Sync used a central shared database for each region to manage the Sync operations. Now each user will have dedicated user owned Sync Databases. A Sync Database is a customer owned Azure SQL Database. By replacing the shared central databases with customer-specific databases, we provide better privacy and security. In addition, this provides the user flexibility to increase or decrease the performance tier of the Sync Database based on their needs.

Sync Database Requirements

  • Azure SQL Database of any service tier
  • Same region as the Hub Database of a Sync Group(s)
  • Same subscription as Sync Group(s)
  • One per region in which you have a Sync Group (Hub Database)

Enhanced monitoring and troubleshooting

We have made a few key improvements to monitoring and troubleshooting. Users can now monitor the sync status programmatically using PowerShell and RESTful APIs. In addition, we’ve improved several error messages, making them more clear and actionable.

Next steps

New users

If you would like to try Data Sync refer to this tutorial.

Existing users

Existing users will be migrated to the new service starting June 1, 2017. For more information on migration look at the blog post “Migrating to Azure SQL Data Sync 2.0.”

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Azure Gov enables digital transformation | US Veterans Affairs

By Susie Adams as written on enterprise.microsoft.com
For the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, giving veterans access to information that is both clear and easy to understand is crucial, not only to help veterans make informed decisions about their healthcare but also to improve overall patient satisfaction and outcomes. Last month, in support of its initiative to enhance veterans’ access to quality healthcare, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs launched Access to Care – an online tool that allows public access and transparency to key data to help veterans, their family members, and caregivers make more informed decisions about healthcare. What you might not have known is that this online tool is powered by Microsoft Azure Government and SQL Server technology.
Built and hosted in multiple Microsoft Azure Government regions, the VA’s Access to Care site features highly-scalable, public-facing websites, giving veterans and their families an online portal that combines and simplifies complex data such as new and established patient wait times, satisfaction scores for access to primary and specialty care, and timeliness of urgent appointments. By using the site, veterans and their families can also quickly compare their VA facility with others and, where possible, provide an easy comparison to private sector facilities.
In addition to running on Azure Government, Access to Care uses Bing Maps to identify and plot the nearest VA facility locations on a map. Users can zoom, pan, and select the pins for each facility for more information. Through this mobile device-enabled interface, the site can answer veterans’ questions, such as:
o How quickly can the VA see me?
o How well does my VA’s care compare to other hospitals?
o How satisfied are veterans with their access to care?
o How is the VA doing with access overall?
According to a VA press release, “This tool is another example of VA leading the way,” said Dr. Poonam Alaigh, Acting Undersecretary for Health. “No one in the private sector publishes data this way. This tool will instill a spirit of competition and encourage our medical facilities to proactively address access and quality issues while empowering Veterans to make choices according to what works best for them and their families.”
Dr. David J. Shulkin, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, reinforced in the press release the importance of this work, saying, “No other health-care system in the country releases this type of information on wait times. This allows Veterans to see how VA is performing.”
“The VA is actively embracing digital government and taking things to a whole new level. Through the power of cloud technology, we are able to take information of great importance to Veterans and our stakeholders, such as the Access to Care website, and make it directly available to our constituents. The Access to Care site is an example of the new types of tools the VA will be pursuing that will foster transparency and empower the Veteran and our constituents to help them understand how the VA as a whole is doing and their local VA as well when it comes to access and quality of care.” – Jack Bates, Director, OI&T Business Intelligence Service Line, Veterans Affairs
A VA blog post also states that the new access and quality web tool is a work in progress and will continue to evolve and improve as stakeholders provide feedback. Leveraging agile development methodology, the VA and Microsoft teams supporting this initiative are planning several development sprints throughout the next few months. Version 2.0 of the site went live on May 1.
Microsoft is proud to be part of the VA’s initiative to enable greater transparency and to enhance the way it supports veterans around the world. This work expands on Microsoft’s commitment to provide the VA with the deepest set of services, capabilities, and compliance standards to help it best achieve its mission. For example, in March, the VA issued a FedRAMP High agency ATO to Microsoft Azure Government—a critical step in the agency’s readiness to use the cloud. By building and hosting Access to Care on Azure Government, the VA is continuing to embrace digital modernization and improve its services for veterans around the world.
To learn more about Access to Care, visit www.accesstocare.va.gov. To see how Access to Care works, please visit a demo in the VA’s blog post.
This work is further proof that worldwide government agencies like the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are choosing Microsoft as their partner to deepen their innovation and accelerate their digital transformation journey.
Microsoft offers the most complete, trusted, and secure cloud solution for our nearly 6 million government users across 7,000-plus federal, state and local organizations, empowering them to achieve more through digital transformation.

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The public preview of SQL Server on Linux has arrived!

As written on info.microsoft.com
The public preview of the next major release of SQL Server brings the power of SQL Server to both Linux and Windows.  SQL Server enables developers and organizations to build intelligent applications with industry-leading performance and security technologies using their preferred language and environment.  With the next release of SQL Server, you can develop applications with SQL Server on Linux, Windows, Docker, or macOS (via Docker) and then deploy to Linux, Windows, or Docker, on-premises or in the cloud.
You’ll find native Linux installations made easy with familiar RPM and APT packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu Linux, and a package for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server will be coming soon as well.  Finally, the public preview for SQL Server is also available on Azure Virtual Machines on Windows and Linux and as images available on Docker Hub, offering a quick and easy installation within minutes.
Tooling on Linux
We have also released updated versions of our flagship SQL Server tools including SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)Visual Studio SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) and SQL Server PowerShell with support for the next release of SQL Server on Windows and Linux. We are also excited to announce the new SQL Server extension for Visual Studio Code that is available now on the Visual Studio Code marketplace. Developers can use the SQL extension for VS Code on macOS/Linux/Windows with SQL Server running anywhere (on-premises, on Linux and Windows, in any cloud, in virtual machines, Docker) and with Azure SQL DB and Azure SQL DW. Native command-line tools are also available for SQL Server on Linux.
Get started today
Try the SQL Server on Linux Public Preview today! Get started with the public preview of the next release of SQL Server on Linux, macOS (via Docker) and Windows with our tutorials that show you how to install and use SQL Server on macOS, Docker, Windows, RHEL and Ubuntu and quickly build an app in a programming language of your choice.


Microsoft Makes It Easier To Move SQL Server Licenses to Azure


By Kurt Mackie as written on www.linkedin.com

Organizations with Enterprise Agreements (EAs) can now move their existing SQL Server licenses to Azure Virtual Machines using prebuilt images, Microsoft announced late last week.
Microsoft currently sells SQL Server use on Azure Virtual Machines on a "pay per use" licensing basis, but organizations can now bring their own license and tap Azure infrastructure if their SQL Server licenses are covered under an EA. To do that, an organization just selects a prebuilt image from the Azure gallery and then gets charged for the Azure compute costs, per Microsoft's announcement:

Starting this week, customers with Enterprise Agreement who already have SQL Server Licenses, can use them on Azure Virtual Machines with Microsoft-certified (BYOL) gallery images. These images will not charge for SQL Server licensing, just for compute cost.

The image selection process is demonstrated briefly in this Microsoft video. Organizations "don't get billed per hour," per that video, although they do for the compute-time component. Microsoft offers documentation on the Azure Virtual Machine provisioning process at this page.
The deal isn't for small organizations. An EA is a licensing program for organizations with 250 or more users or devices right now, but that minimum limit will get bumped up to 500 users or devices starting on July 1, 2016 for new contracts.
Microsoft also has a so-called Azure "license mobility" program that applies to organizations with server licensing covered under Software Assurance (SA) agreements. An SA is an extra-cost annuity agreement on top of a software license that permits software upgrades within the SA contract period. Organizations with SA agreements also can tap Azure infrastructure using their existing server licenses, although they have to bring their own images under that plan, explained Wes Miller, an analyst with independent consulting company Directions on Microsoft, based in Kirkland, Wash.
"They (SA customers) do have that option," Miller said, via an e-mail. "But note that to do so they have to bring their own images. This option also lets them start with images from the gallery and not get charged for SQL, just compute."
In response to a question, Miller said Microsoft's new EA deal isn't bearing any extra costs other than the Azure compute costs. There aren't any Client Access License charges as "Azure generally doesn't have the concept of CALs," he noted.


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Better Performance: Are your applications keeping up with your business? With physical and operational security built in Azure, SQL Database can help you meet the most stringent regulatory compliance.

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SQL Data Warehouse independently scales compute and storage, so you pay for query performance only when you need it. Unlike other cloud data warehouses that require hours or days to resize, SQL Data Warehouse lets you grow or shrink compute power in minutes. Take full advantage of storage at cloud scale, and apply query compute based on changing performance needs. When compute is paused, you pay only for storage, leveraging our market-leading on-demand price per terabyte.


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The service is a fully managed offering which removes you from the hassle of spending time on software updates and maintenance. SQL Data Warehouse has built-in database backups to support self-service restore; the service automatically backs up your data to Azure storage as it snapshots database restore points.
Make sure your apps are keeping up with the speed of your business with SQL Server:
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Dev-Test Starts with IT: Create simple, cloud-only dev-test configurations using Resource Manager templates

Sixty-five percent of developers say it’s too complicated and time-consuming to get dev-test resources.* It doesn’t have to be. This blog series will provide guidance on setting up dev-test environments with the help of the Microsoft cloud so that you can get the most out of dev-test in minutes—not hours or days.
Azure makes it easy to set up a dev-test environment for your applications and all of their components: web app, database, database server, storage, and any third-party services. Azure Resource Manager can help you simplify deployment and management of all of the app resources and services.
Resource Manager gives you the ability to deploy, manage, and monitor the components of your apps in a resource group, rather than handling services and resources individually. You can create resource groups and then move resources to different groups and add new resources to existing groups.
You can also use Resource Manager templates to quickly deploy apps within a new or existing resource group, including the following cloud-only dev-test configurations:
Active Directory domain controllers, a highly available, two-server Active Directory Domain Services domain configuration
•SharePoint Server 2013, a three-server or nine-server SharePoint farm
•SQL Server AlwaysOn, a five-server SQL Server AlwaysOn with Availability Groups configuration
•WordPress Server, a WordPress Server running on Ubuntu
These are great starting points to explore Resource Manager templates before authoring your own.
Source: Business Case for Test Environment Management Whitepaper, Cognizant: https://azure.microsoft.com

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