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As an ever-expanding collection of integrated cloud services for developers and IT professionals, Microsoft Azure experiences a constant stream of updates.

Here we present a round-up of the biggest updates announced in July 2017, from the earliest announced to the most recent:

New set of Azure services for the UK

The month got off to a busy start with the announcement of a number of services newly available to UK customers. These included the Azure Container Service, Log Analytics, Logic Apps, Azure Stream Analytics, SQL Threat Detection and SSE (Storage Service Encryption) for Managed Disks.

StorSimple 8000 series management in the new Azure portal

8000 series customers can now transition from the classic portal to the new Azure portal in a single click with StorSimple 8000 series management now generally available for the new portal. This promises more personalization, role-based access control and single-portal application management.

Site recovery updates

Azure Site Recovery (ASR) can now be used to protect Azure virtual machines utilising the Windows Server 2016 platform as well as those configured with Storage Spaces. ASR also now supports disaster recovery for virtual machines and physical servers of up to 4,095GB.

New public previews

A couple of new public previews were announced in July. These include compatibility level 140 in Azure SQL Database, enabling a number of query optimizer changes, and Resumable Online Index Rebuild (ROIR) in Azure SQL DB, which allows the resumption of a paused index rebuild operation rather than having to restart. Database Scoped Global Temporary Tables are also in public preview for Azure SQL.

Cognitive Services updates

The Bing Entity Search API is now available in Free Preview, using the Bing knowledge graph to tap into details and sources for ‘entities’ such as books, films and famous people. Project Prague allows the user to control and interact with devices using gestures and Presentation Translator allows the addition of subtitles to presentations in real-time.

Nested Virtualisation

Nested virtualisation can now be enabled in Azure using the new Dv3 and Ev3 VM sizes, with expansion promised to support more VM sizes in the near future. The old high memory D sizes (D11-D14) are also being renamed to become the Ev3 family. Essentially nested virtualisation will allow the creation of a virtual machine within a virtual machine, which could provide greater flexibility in a number of areas, including testing and development.

Instant File Recovery

One of the biggest announcements of the month was the general availability of Instant File Recovery. This allows the instant recovery of files from Azure VM cloud backups without the need for any additional infrastructure. Application files can also be opened without restore, and the need to expend the time and bandwidth needed to restore the entire VM.

ISO certifications

Azure reported having recently completed a new set of independent ISO and Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) audits, expanding their certification and putting them at the forefront of the industry when it comes to ISO standards, which provide global baselines for information security management.