Azure Weekly

Your weekly Azure news fix

Azure Weekly is a summary of the week's top news to help you build on the Microsoft Azure Platform.

From AI to Availability Zones, it aims to keep you on top of the latest Azure developments.

Issue 276: 24th May 2020

As I'm sure most of you are aware, this week was the first virtual Microsoft Build! So, unsurprisingly, there have been a lot of exciting announcements and updates...

The first of these is around Azure Synapse Link. This is a cloud-native implementation of Hybrid Transactional Analytical Processing (HTAP), and is a game-changer as it provides a one-click, non-disruptive way to get real-time analytics from transactional data stored in operational databases. It is now available in Cosmos DB and will be added to other database types in the coming months!

Jess has written an excellent blog about why Azure Synapse Analytics should be on your roadmap, which is definitely worth a read if you want to learn more about this technology.

The updates team have also announced the Serverless pricing model for Azure Cosmos DB. This is an exciting step in bringing more cloud services towards a consumption-based pricing model!

Alongside this, Static Web Apps single page hosting in App Service is now in preview. Over the past few months we have begun to migrate a lot of our sites to single-page applications so this is something we'll definitely be making use of in the near future.

Also, Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 PowerShell and CLI are now generally available, which is excellent news for being able to automate the management of secure data architectures on Azure.

And finally, here is a run through of the Build updates for Azure Cognitive Search, and an update on the Azure DevOps Roadmap update for 2020 Q2.

For a full list of the updates this week, it is definitely worth having a skim through the Azure updates blog!

Issue 275: 17th May 2020

This week, the Azure team has announced the general availability of Azure Spot Virtual Machines. Azure Spot allows you to take advantage of unused Azure compute at extremely discounted rates. The caveat is that this compute can be repurposed at any time. So, if your processing can be interrupted, this is extremely cost-effective way to leverage both cloud compute and scale-out.

Also on the Azure blog, Klaas Langhout has highlighted how Azure Blob Storage is enhancing data protection and recovery capabilities. Along with the announcement around indexing last week, we are excited to see some great new features being added to this low-cost storage solution!

And, elsewhere, Tobias ZImmerman has provided a great walkthrough overview on how to use the Azure Resource Graph to improve your Azure Governance game. Some really useful tips around automated management and governance!

And finally, on the endjin blog, Carmel has shared some tips for maintaining relationships within a remote team. With endjin having been remote now for over 2.5 years, we've developed a few strategies for continuing to feel connected!

Issue 274: 10th May 2020

There have been a few very exciting announcements this week. The first is that Blob Index now available in preview in Azure Blob storage. Though still in preview, this is a gamechanger as it unlocks the possiblity of multi-indexing within the cost-effective world of Azure Storage!  And on the analytics front, Data Factory has added new hierarchical data handling and new flexibility for complex joins. Mapping Data Flows are a great tool for designing data tranformation pipelines and these features add a lot of new and complex functionality.

Elsewhere, Ari Bornstein has provided some examples for Evaluating Deep Learning Models in 10 Different Languages. This is a great resource for anyone trying to choose between the huge wealth of ML models now available! On the Azure Podcast, Maria Naggaga has provided a deep dive into .NET Interactive. Here at endjin we're very excited to see what's next for notebooks in .NET, and plan on using this technology a lot more in the coming months.

And finally, on the endjin blog, Carmel has run through How Azure Key Vault secures your data!

Issue 273: 3rd May 2020

This week we'd like to highlight some content around CosmosDB. Firstly, the Azure team have announced that Spatial geometry in Azure Cosmos DB now generally available. We explored some of this as part of a recent project, it's powerful stuff and definitely worth a look if you're working with spatial data!

And, to assist with this, Deborah Chen has joined the team on the Azure Podcast to further discuss the new Cosmos DB Free Tier. We've mentioned this a few times, but I think it's really worth highlighting that you can now take advantage of the powerful features of Cosmos without breaking the bank.

The updates team has also announced that Managed identity support in AKS is now available. Managed identities mean that all of the credential management is done for you, and therefore massively reduce the security risks around authentication. It's great to see this feature become available in a wider range of services!

Alongside this, YAML CD features in Azure Pipelines are now generally available. We've been using YAML for our build and release definitions for a while now, and wholeheartedly recommend this as a way of managing CI/CD processes.

Finally, on the endjin blog, Carmel has written a blog around handling upheaval and navigating uncertain times. This isn't strictly Azure related, but I think it's important to recognise that many of are struggling to comprehend the scale of the current global changes. This post runs through a few general strategies for managing the extra mental workload.

And finally, if you're in the UK, please check out https://www.bytesforheroes.com and see if you can help.

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