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 462: 14th April 2024

Starting off with AI: Optimize Azure OpenAI Applications with Semantic Caching and Build a serverless ChatGPT with RAG using LangChain.js. Two good tutorials: How to build a Copilot for Security API Plugin – Part 1 and Implementing a Blazor-based BFF in Azure Container Apps.

In Cloud Native App Dev: Deploy Kaito on AKS using Terraform, and Unified Kubernetes Management Across Clouds with Azure Arc, and Update Microsoft Sentinel Analytics Rules at Scale.

In Data and Analytics: Building a Real-Time medallion architecture using Eventhouse in Microsoft Fabric, two interesting posts about Cosmos DB: Initial testing of Mirroring Azure Cosmos DB Databases in Microsoft Fabric, and A new way to change a Partition Key in CosmosDB, and a look at Exploring Azure Storage Actions for Blob Storage.

Finally, I've written a blog post. We've been modernising a number of our internal line of business applications. Some we've migrated to Microsoft Fabric, some we've turned into Streamlit applications. But we have a number of complex web applications. We settled on a modern stack of ASP.NET Core + Razor + HTMX hosted in Azure Container Apps and it's vastly simplified the codebase and improved performance. One challenge was integrating HTMX's elegant Hypermedia approach with more traditional HTTP JSON API requirements for data visualisation like Chart.js. I created a POC last year to demonstrate how we could leverage HTMX's extensibility mechanisms to combine the two worlds. The result has worked well for us. I've written a deep dive blog post, called ASP.NET Core + Razor + HTMX + Chart.js and provided a GitHub repo with the POC.

Issue 460: 31st March 2024

Following the trend from last week, there are a number of new retirement notices again. In AI there were a number of interesting posts focusing on "Responsible AI": Detect and Mitigate Ungrounded Model Outputs, and March Responsibly: Creating effective security guardrails with metaprompt/system message engineering. There's an interesting post about what powers all these AI services in: Annual Roundup of AI Infrastructure Breakthroughs for 2023, and a fascinating post about Leveraging Knowledge Graphs with Azure OpenAI.

It was the first Fabric Conference in Las Vegas this week, the pace of innovation in Microsoft Fabric is quite staggering, which you can see in the Microsoft Fabric March 2024 Update release notes. There's also an useful post detailing how to Grow your FinOps practice with the Microsoft community.

Two really very useful new features in Azure Container Apps were announced this week: Generally Available: Free managed certificates on Azure Container Apps and Public preview: Support for Key Vault Certificates in Azure Container Apps. There's also a useful guide to Azure Network Subnetting made easy.

A busy week at endjin; first up Ian Griffiths appeared on the Real-world Serverless podcast to give a Azure Functions Deep Dive, Barry Smart published his yearly summary of SQLbits 2024 - The Best Bits. Matthew Adams reflects on SQLBits in Data and AI Engineering Maturity - Fix our problems before we hit the buffers, and I unveiled a tool I've been working on for a few years: adr - A .NET Tool for Creating & Managing Architecture Decision Records.

Issue 459: 24th March 2024

This week there are a number of retirement notices, which are worth being aware of. Highlights from this issue, starting with AI: Getting Started with OpenAI Whisper on Azure, agents are the current hot topic in AI and there are two interesting articles: Building a multimodal multi-agent framework with Azure Assistant API, and Introducing TaskWeaver.

In Analytics and Identity: Protect PII information in your Microsoft Fabric Lakehouse with Responsible AI and Introduction to Conditional Access.

Around DevOps and Management: Combine FinOps best practices and Microsoft tools to streamline and optimize your workloads, a nice approach for creating a Azure Service Health Workbook, Introducing database watcher for Azure SQL and announcing Microsoft open sources Retina: A cloud-native container networking observability platform

An interesting reflection: Thoughts about gaining the Fabric Analytics Engineer Associate certification, and a comparison of the three major cloud platforms: All you need to know about Azure, AWS, or GCP SLA.

Finally, a big thank-you to the organisers, volunteers, speakers and sponsors of SQLBits 2024. As someone who comes from the Software Engineering space, I found it particularly fascinating to see how people within the data ecosystem think about their domain. My takeaway is many of the "new" topics I saw being discussed, covering patterns, practices, processes, and value, were hot topics 20 years ago in Application Development. If this is a similar tipping point for the data community, the next decade is going to be a very exciting, and transformative time.

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