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 467: 19th May 2024

Microsoft have been quick off the mark with the latest OpenAI model; Introducing GPT-4o: OpenAIs new flagship multimodal model now in preview on Azure. Three other interesting AI articles: Large Language Models with Azure AI Search and Python for OpenAI RAG, this is particularly fascinating if you've ever wondered "why is this taken so long?" The LLM Latency Guidebook: Optimizing Response Times for GenAI Applications. I've spent quite a bit of time this week learning how to fine tune Phi3 locally on my Surface Studio Laptop 2, and have plenty of thoughts about how immature this space is right now, but I found this blog post an interesting read: Evaluate Small Language Models for RAG using Azure Prompt Flow LLama3 vs Phi3.

I'm very pleased that the Microsoft Fabric Community Conference Europe has been announced. We wanted to attend the recent event in Las Vegas, but we decided it would generate too big a carbon footprint from the UK... and any excuse to visit Stockholm. In other Fabric news: Microsoft Fabric Monitoring with Metrics App and Data Activator, and the public preview of task flows in Microsoft Fabric - including a quote from endjin's own Ed Freeman!

Finally some other impactful announcements: Microsoft will require MFA for all Azure users, and guide demonstrating how to Secure your Container Apps with Key Vault Certificates and possibly one of the most important new service announcments I've seen in the last few years. This looks like a game changer for secure, multi-tenant or untrusted workloads. I'm very much looking forward to creating some proof of concepts using this: New: Secure Sandboxes at Scale with Azure Container Apps Dynamic Sessions.

Issue 466: 12th May 2024

Quite a packed issues this week - usually there's a lull before the Microsoft Build conference, but not this week! Starting with AI, there have been a flurry of posts about local development of LLMs, because of the new small LLM Phi-3. I might even publish a post about it in the next week or so! Exploring Microsoft's Phi-3 Family of Small Language Models SLMs with Azure AI, and Develop LLM Solutions In Local Environment, and Introducing GraphRAG with LangChain and Neo4j.

In Identity and Security: Basic understanding on Microsoft Entra custom claims provider, and Secure Azure Management Group Creation – Best Practices for Enhanced Security. There's a good post about VNet Flow Logs recipes and How to Refresh Expired Keys in Redis using Azure Functions.

Finally, in Analytics: Unleash the Power of Insights: Azure Resource Graph Power BI Data Connector Now Generally Available and Barry Smart continues his Microsoft Fabric Machine Learning Tutorial - Part 2 - Data Validation with Great Expectations and after a break to prep all the SQLBits talks and workshops, Ed Freeman continues his Microsoft Fabric End-to-End Demo series with Part 8 - Good Notebook Development Practices.

Issue 465: 5th May 2024

This issue is slightly delayed this week as it's been a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK, and I've been busy with a project in the garden. Starting with Identity, there are two posts about new Entra features: General Availability of Microsoft Entra External ID and Public preview: Expanding passkey support in Microsoft Entra ID.

Other interesting articles: Managing Failed Pipeline Runs in Azure Data Factory, and Your Go-To PowerShell Template for HTTP-Triggered Azure Functions, and in AI: Bringing GenAI Offline: running SLMs like Phi-2/Phi-3 and Whisper Models on Mobile Devices. If you live in the Azure Portal, you might have been impacted by a recent UX change and ask Where are my Azure Portal Menu Items?.

Finally, Barry Smart kicks off a new course Microsoft Fabric Machine Learning Tutorial - Part 1 - Overview of the Course.

Issue 464: 28th April 2024

In AI we have a good mix of high-level and deep-dive technical articles. Next-Gen Customer Service: Azure's AI-Powered Speech, Translation and Summarization, and Using Kernel Memory to Chunk Documents into Azure AI Search. I find Agentic AI an absolutely fascinating area, so always happy to see new content:GoEX: a safer way to build autonomous Agentic AI applications and a really interesting articles on Reducing the Environmental Impact of Generative AI: a Guide for Practitioners.

In Hybrid, Getting started with Azure Arc-enabled servers, and Azure Arc: Validate ESU enrollment, and in identity: How to Safely Disable Security Defaults in Microsoft Entra ID: A Step-by-Step Guide.

Finally, there are three interesting posts: Protecting your IP in the Azure Marketplace, a long awaited new feature: Trusted Signing is in Public Preview, and a nice post we tired out this week: Azure DevOps + Mural Awesome Visualizations.

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