Disney signs on with Microsoft, SQLCMD arrives in Data Studio and Azure goes German

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, it's off to test we go...

Roundup While the speculation machine for Microsoft's mystery hardware event ramped up (although still a mere ripple compared to the spurtings around anything to do with Apple), the Redmond gang continued to toil. Here are some of the stories you might have missed.

Azure Data Studio gets SQLCMD mode

Azure Data (formerly SQL Operations) Studio took a substantial step forward in the usability stakes last week as engineers added SQL Server command line (SQLCMD) mode.

The move is significant for Microsoft as the team seeks to prise the fingers of DBAs from SQL Server Management Studio by bringing over key features one by one. Azure Data Studio is the company's pitch at a multi-database, cross-platform targeting on-premises and cloud databases on Windows, macOS and Linux.

An exhaustive list of changes for version 1.11 can be found at GitHub, but it is the arrival of SQLCMD that caught our eye, bringing with it the ability to write and edit queries as SQLCMD scripts and then execute them in the editor.

Other handy improvements include performance bumps for Notebooks and Query Editor Boost, an extension that allows admins to do things that should really be in the editor, such as saving query snippets, using query templates and switching databases via a hot key.

Just don't go a-switching to that production database when that TRUNCATE script is loaded, m'kay?

Azure goes big in Germany

Microsoft opened up some new cloud data centre regions for Germany last week. Lucky Deutschland residents are now blessed with Germany West Central (located in Frankfurt) and Germany North (located in Berlin) to speed connectivity as well as deal with that all-important issue of data residency.

The regions enjoy compliance with German-specific regulations and, according to Microsoft, "will remove barriers so in-country companies can benefit from the latest solutions such as containers, IoT, and AI".

At the same time funnelling all those euros in the direction of the Windows giant.

As well as Deutsche Bank and Deutsche Telecom, Microsoft also highlighted SAP, which intends to mix up Azure and SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud to entice customers that full-on German experience.

Microsoft Cloud Backup for Authenticator comes to Android

The Microsoft Authenticator app for Android gained the ability to backup and restore credentials to and from Microsoft's cloud. The feature, which is available for versions 6.6.0 and upwards of the app, stashes credentials with a user's personal Microsoft account and can then recover them when moving to a new device.

We gave it a try and can confirm it functions as promised. Those worried about all that data potentially being slurped need not be overly concerned. After all, you need a personal Microsoft account to use it, and those feeling a bit jumpy are unlikely to have such a thing.

Those hoping the functionality will function with their Microsoft work accounts have a little longer to wait as the company admitted there "were no immediate plans" to take the cloudy tech beyond the world of the personal, thanks to issues such App Protection Policy conflicts that might arise.

PHP drivers for SQL Server giveth and taketh away

Microsoft emitted a preview of drivers for PHP for SQL Server, in the form of version 5.7 last week. The notable changes were the arrival of support for PHP 7.4 RC 1, Ubuntu 19.04 and Debian 10 and the dropping of support for Ubuntu 18.10.

Which is fair enough. The last LTS version of Ubuntu, 18.04, has a good few years of maintenance ahead of it. 18.10 was merely an interim release.

The preview also deals with memory leaks spotted by PHP 7.4 beta 1 as well as fixing memory issues with data classification structures and handling UTF-8 names in the connection string without throwing misleading error messages.

Hello, Pluto! Let's write an Operating System!

News reached Vulture Central last week of an "innovation partnership" between Microsoft and Walt Disney Studios to create, produce and distribute content using the Windows giant's Azure cloud.

Far be it from us to describe some of the testing practices lurking within the bowels of Redmond as a bit "Mickey Mouse".

Windows 10 isn't mentioned, for it is the storage and networking capabilities of Azure that has caught the eye of the House of Mouse and studioLAB team as they seek to speed the movement of content from "scene to screen".

Disney chief exec Bob Iger stepped down from Apple's board on the day of the announcement (well, he actually resigned on 10 September but Apple didn't announce it until the 13th).

It's unlikely Iger's departure was related to the Microsoft deal by anything other than coincidence. With Apple's announcement of the cost of its TV+ streaming service ahead of the launch of Disney+, Iger's seat must have getting less than comfortable.

SMB 1 – must try harder

Finally, Microsoft program manager Ned Pyle, terror of the Server Message Block, shared some telemetry last week to cheer the progress being made to kill off the Swiss-cheese protocol.

As a reminder, the decades-old networking protocol has been demonstrated to be horrifically insecure, with tools released that can cut through it like a hot knife through butter. Despite repeatedly patching the thing, Microsoft, and others, would much prefer customers simply move on to something designed for more modern times.

Of course, there are a lot of network appliances out there that use the outdated tech, many of which have long since dropped out of support.

However, the figures give hope that the message (or the default turning off of the thing) is having the desired effect. We await with anticipation for the next obsolete technology to be on the receiving end of Pyle's ire. ®

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