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Azure Stream Analytics no code editor and NGINX Plus now Azure native

ACG Technical Editors Team
ACG Technical Editors Team

In the week leading up to Build, Azure dropped a LOT of new tools and features for cloud developers. NGINX Plus is now a native SaaS offering on Azure; designing analytics for your streaming data gets a drag-and-drop experience, and a revamped version of the Draft tool makes the move to Kubernetes even easier. Let’s check out what’s been happening in Azure news this week.


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NGINX Plus native on Azure — a powerful combination

From its humble beginning 20 years ago as a web server designed to handle a tremendous number of concurrent requests to the Russian search engine Rambler, NGINX has become one of the most popular servers in the world.

Now managed by the F5 organization, their flagship “NGINX Plus” product is a highly-used tool for managing distributed applications. But using NGINX Plus in the Azure ecosystem has always been a bit of a challenge until now. After a two-year joint effort, Azure and F5 have released NGINX Plus as a full SaaS product on Azure. 

This new SaaS offering doesn’t just let you use NGINX Plus’s powerful features as a reverse proxy and load balancer. You can also leverage your existing assets with its BYOC (Bring Your Own Configuration) feature. One of the biggest advantages here is the lowered learning curve as you migrate your workloads to the cloud. You’ll spend less time struggling with wiring everything together and more time optimizing your cloud architecture and customizing your system for your unique needs. 

This is really big news as the IT world moves to distributed computing systems, and I think you’ll really enjoy working with it.

Build a drag-and-drop streaming data analysis system

The Azure Event Hub service is a powerful, real-time ingestion service that is increasingly useful in today’s world of IoT devices and distributed applications that operate at a high scale and generate a TON of data. However, that data is only as valuable as your ability to analyze it, and Azure has just released a tool to make that process a lot easier with the public preview of the new Stream Analytics no code editor. 

Using its drag-and-drop interface, you can quickly create analytics jobs without writing any code. Whether you need to filter and ingest data to your Azure Synapse SQL service, put your data into the Apache Parquet tabular form and dump it into your data lake, or materialize your data into an Azure Cosmos DB, you can get started in minutes.

This new service essentially gives you a canvas to view all your incoming data streams and then transform them in any way you need before you write it to your destination of choice — all in a no-code way. You get to leverage the deep knowledge that Azure’s data experts have developed over the years and spend your time thinking about the best way to shape your data, instead of getting mired in the syntax of devising your data query and transform operations. 

Your data ingestion, transformation, and loading tasks just got a lot easier. I guess the next step is building AI to tell you what the data REALLY means — but that sounds a little too much like The Singularity, so hopefully, Azure will hold off on this for a bit.

Move to Kubernetes with ease using Microsoft Draft 2

The learning curve to working effectively with containers and Kubernetes can be kind of tough. In 2017, Microsoft launched Draft, an open-source tool to help developers build applications destined for the container world even if their skills weren’t quite there yet. They’ve learned a lot in the five years Draft has been in use, and now they’ve released a redesigned version as Draft 2

The Draft 2 tool lets you write your app without a deep knowledge of containerization concepts and artifacts, and it actually creates all the artifacts you’ll need to easily deploy those apps to Kubernetes. Using your finished app, it will make everything you need: Dockerfile, Kubernetes manifests, Helm charts, and more. Having a finished, working deployment system for your app that you can tweak to your particular needs makes the transition to containers and Kubernetes a LOT easier. 

If you’re not already diving deep into the container pool, this is a great way to get your feet wet— and even if you are, why not make your job a bit easier by having Draft 2 make everything for you? 

Keep up with all things Azure

Well that’s all for this week! Want to keep up with all things cloud? Follow ACG on Twitter and Facebook. You can also subscribe to A Cloud Guru on YouTube for weekly Azure updates, and join the conversation on Discord.

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