How can I possibly share all the Azure awesomeness from Microsoft Build 2022 in a single post? It’s going to be tough, but I have to do it for you…the readers! That’s right, it’s all about Microsoft Build in Azure news this week!
While I could easily write thousands of words about Build, I’m going to give you a lightning round of the announcements I am most excited about. There will cover new services, services becoming generally available, and maybe even a few tears of joy. I’m going to attempt to pack these announcements into four key areas: containers, DevOps and developer tools, AI and ML, and data.
Let’s get to the news!
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It isn’t a surprise that containers were a key part of the announcements for Build. In the last Azure update post, we covered the release of Draft 2, but the AKS announcements don’t end there.
Microsoft had a whole host of announcements all centered on enabling more developers to deploy their applications into Kubernetes without having to deal with as much boilerplate configuration. As part of this, they launched the web application routing add-on, which makes it easier to deal with all of the configurations around DNS, certificates, and ingress settings.
They also launched the KEDA (or Kubernetes-based event-driven autoscaling) add-on for AKS. Developers can now configure scaling rules via KEDA in a way that is fully supported by the service.
There were also a ton of announcements around Azure Arc support for AKS for organizations leveraging a hybrid cloud strategy.
If you think that’s enough container announcements for a week, you’d be wrong. We also saw Azure Container Apps transition from preview to being generally available. This service, which I covered in a recent episode of Cloud Builder Live, gives developers an even easier pathway to getting their containers into the cloud. The service, which actually runs on Kubernetes, provides an opinionated configuration that takes away most of the boilerplate configuration while still supporting open-source Kubernetes tools like KEDA, Dapr, and Envoy.
Since it is now GA, you can start planning for it to be a part of your production workloads.
DevOps and Developer Tools
Honestly, everyone, this is where I may cry a tear of joy. Microsoft announced an updated Azure Service Bus Explorer for the portal, which brings all actions, including sending and receiving messages, into your grasp without having to install any third-party applications. This is the kind of update I love, as it truly makes a developer’s life just a bit easier by putting everything in one place. It brings me joy.
We also saw significant updates to both API Management and App Service. The GraphQL passthrough support for API Management has graduated to being generally available. Another big announcement is the support of resolvers to create synthetic GraphQL services. This exciting new feature is available in preview.
App Service adds a lot as well. One of the highlights was support for gRPC when leveraging Linux on Azure App Service. This is currently supported in .NET, but support for Node and Python is expected in the near future. We also have updated networking support and new Landing Zones to help organizations deploy production App Service apps.
Next, we are starting to see more and more of the development experience move directly into the cloud. While we have seen a first phase with GitHub Codespaces, we now have the next generation with Azure Dev Box. With this new service in preview, organizations can configure a complete development environment that can be spun up in a matter of minutes instead of days of configuration.
Unlike Codespaces, Dev Box runs on Windows and can be configured for any tool that can run on Windows. In addition, organizations can efficiently manage access using Azure AD.
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AI and ML
Next, we have AI and ML, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say there was a huge emphasis placed here during Build. One key announcement was the expansion of the OpenAI service, which has been in preview since its launch back in November.
This service was launched as a partnership between Microsoft and OpenAI organization with the goal of bringing OpenAI’s services, such as the popular and mind-blowing GPT-3 model, to any Azure developer. With the announcement at Build, organizations can now apply to be included in the preview. Also, the service now supports increased use cases with additional managed models from OpenAI.
Another challenge that Microsoft sought to address was helping organizations innovate responsibly in AI. This was made possible through the new Azure ML Responsible AI dashboard, which is currently available in preview. This one dashboard pulls in metrics for both model debugging and business decision making to ensure organizations are acting on the right data. Not all frameworks are supported for all metrics, so check out the documentation to see what is supported with this preview release.
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Finally, we have data, and we have a lot to get through. First up in this category, we have CosmosDB. And don’t worry, this time it’s only good news with new capabilities available in public preview. This includes burst capacity, which enables your workloads to still function even if you’ve temporarily exceeded your throughput. The serverless container capacity has also increased up to 1TB. There are also major upgrades on how to deal with partitions that include hierarchical partition keys and partition merge.
Also, Azure SQL is making it easier for you to build cloud applications on your own machine. How? Well, they have now released a local developer experience for Azure SQL with a containerized runtime alongside a VS Code extension. This update alone would be newsworthy, but they also announced the availability of Azure SQL ledger, which provides a blockchain-like verified ledger but without the complexity of setting up a blockchain environment.
We also cannot forget that for the first time, many of us can get our hands on the public preview of SQL Server 2022. This release continues to blur the lines between SQL Server and Azure with integrations we simply have not seen in previous versions.
Well, I think that’s all I can cram into a single post. Don’t forget that the cloud never slows down, so subscribe to A Cloud Guru on YouTube for weekly Azure updates. You can also like ACG on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or join the conversation on Discord!