Azure News 2016 – Week 49

Azure news this week below which is also heard on the Need to Know podcast What might be the biggest news of the year is the new Azure AD Pass-Through Authentication and Seamless Single Sign-on (details here). It’s a way of signing in to AAD (Azure AD) and AAD services using on-prem credentials as a reputable replacement to ADFS. This also includes any any third party apps all like Concour or SalesForce as well as custom apps. You can use AAD Premium to setup SAML 2.0 authentication to any custom app that supports claims based authentication. This is essentially ADFS as a service.

As for Azure AD Pass-Through Authentication:

  • Difference to ADFS -there’s no ports to open in-bound through the firewall and no complex infrastructure to setup. It’s a tiny light weight agent which they recommend to install on an existing domain controller.
  • Difference to Password Sync – some might think it’s more secure, you’re not storing on-premise passwords in AAD, there’s no password hashes sent to to AAD.

There has been numerous sync tools over the past several years to help enable Microsoft cloud utilisation – DirSync, AADSync and AD Connect (AD Sync). Here’s a nice little comparison between them.


Azure Discovery Day Sydney – Tuesday the 13th of December | 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Microsoft Office Sydney
1 Epping Road
North Ryde, NSW 2113

Introduction to Azure Compute, overview of cloud storage & data solutions, overview of networking options and features, using Azure Active Directory for identity and access control, leveraging Azure for disaster recovery and backup, administer Azure via the Azure Portal & PowerShell, create & configure VMs in Azure to connect securely to On-Premises, Networking, Monitoring & Recovery Services, Azure Compute, Virtual Machines, Platform as a Service, Monitoring and Operational Insights, Automation and Azure Quickstart Templates, MyApps portal & Self Service capabilities, multi Factor Authentication, protecting, encrypting & tracking documents

More Info.

What is Microsoft Azure?

This is the golden question. Everyone that tells you their answer tells a slightly different answer. There’s no real easy way to answer this questions other than the fact that Azure can do literally everything and there’s nothing you can’t do in Azure.

There is a new What is Azure poster that’s been released. It’s a great tool which you can easily show to people and put up on the big screen – a great way to start conversations.

22,000 video cameras deployed to London Metropolitan Police officers

Last september Azure opened for business in the UK and pretty much straight away, the London Metropolitan Police Service didn’t muck around, they have announced they are adopting Microsoft Azure. Axon Cameras are attached to officers record evidence. Police dock the camera at the end of the shift and the data is uploaded to Azure.

General Availability for Azure Active Directory Access Panel

Now there’s an easier way to launch Azure Active Directory (AD) connected applications, access security settings and change group membership.

The release includes:

  • Mobile-friendly with a completely new look
  • “At a glance” notifications and a new user control – Notifications alert you instantly to access requests and lets you review them at once.
  • Improved group management experience – Group management is now a breeze with everything you need on the main page. You can easily see what groups you’re in or own, and join or create new ones

More info.

General availability of preview features and new APIs in Azure Search

The general availability (GA) of several features as well as a new REST API version and .NET SDK that support the new GA features.

  • Blob Indexer allows you to parse and index text from common file formats such as Office documents, PDF, and HTML.
  • Table Indexer enables you to ingest data from an Azure Table store.
  • Custom Analyzers enable you to take control over the process of lexical analysis that’s performed over the content of your documents and query terms. For example, custom analyzers enable support for Phonetic search.
  • Analyze API allows you to test built-in and custom analyzers to see how the analyzer breaks text into tokens.
  • ETag Support allows you to safely update index definitions, indexers, and data sources concurrently.

More info.

StorSimple Data Transformation preview

Convert your data of interest from StorSimple format to Azure blobs, which opens the data up to a rich ecosystem of various Azure services such as Azure Media Services, Azure HDInsight, or Azure Machine Learning to process this data.

Some examples of usage are:

  • A call center uses StorSimple to store the audio recording of all calls. Using StorSimple Data Transformation, they can use Azure Media services to convert the call to text and analyse these calls for silence duration, sentiment and operator performance
  • Use StorSimple for storing video surveillance feeds and then to use Azure Media services for face recognition.
  • Store log files on StorSimple and then use the compute in Azure or the power of OMS to analyse the logs

More info.

StorSimple virtual arrays in the new Azure portal

Management of the StorSimple Virtual Device Series is now available in the new Azure portal otherwise known as the ‘Ibiza’ portal. You can use the StorSimple extension in the new portal to create Azure Resource Manager based StorSimple managers to manage your virtual arrays.

More info.

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