Top Five Azure Announcements at Microsoft Build 2017

Microsoft’s annual Build developer conference was held May 10-12 2017 in Redmond, and included a number of exciting announcements about the Azure cloud and surrounding ecosystem of services and tools. What follows here is my short take on the most interesting of those.

Azure IoT Edge

Azure’s IoT capabilities have steadily progressed over the last few years to enable many kinds of semi-connected devices to integrate with Azure’s securing and reliable messaging infrastructure so that cloud-based processing and analytics can act on data from the field and then push decisions and updated data back to those devices.

One obvious hole in the strategy has now been addressed, further enhancing the capabilities of the Azure IoT solution. Azure IoT Edge now allows computation, data filtering, and analytics capabilities to run not only in the Azure cloud but on the edge, at each individual device. This enables a whole range of new scenarios not easily achievable with Azure’s prior IoT offerings: disconnected data processing, data flow and latency optimization for low bandwidth scenarios, secure processing for sensitive data, highly distributed analytics processing to take advantage of increasingly capable edge CPUs, and more.
For further details on Azure IoT Edge and to enroll in the product preview, see the main Azure IoT Edge product page

And to see Cloud Academy’s Azure IoT Learning Path (featured in the Build keynote!) check us out here:
Learning Path Azure Internet of Things

Cosmos DB

One of the most exciting announcements at Build was the formal rebranding of Azure’s NoSQL DocumentDB database into Cosmos DB. Cosmos DB provides geo-scale, low-latency JSON-backed data storage with support for SQL queries, MongoDB API compatibility, Javascript-based stored procs and triggers, and much much more, all in a fully managed service offering that frees you from administrative details and lets you focus on your business need. New features in Cosmos DB are support for graph-based queries as well as API compatibility with the Azure Tables NoSQL store, as well as additional options for configuring data consistency and scalability.

Here’s a brief demo of the geo-replication capabilities of Cosmos and DocumentDB, from my recent Cloud Academy course

Azure Functions Runtime and Visual Studio Tools

Azure Functions have been around for a little while now, and have started to gain real traction for uses like lightweight microservices implementations and glue code within DevOps workflows (you have seen my Azure Functions course, right?).

One problem they’ve had from the outset, however, is a relative lack of good tooling for development and debugging. This isn’t all bad since an advantage of serverless compute like Functions lies in its simplicity and browser-based authoring and deployment model. Still, those of us comfortable in full-fledged editor environments like Visual Studio do enjoy our comforts… and Azure Functions has seemed like a bit of a backward step in that regard. But no more.

At Build, Microsoft released two preview tooling features for Functions… the ability to host and run the Azure Function runtime locally in your own environment, and Visual Studio integration for local testing and debugging of function code, and easy deployment up into your Azure subscription. These capabilities start to round out the DevOps and testing story for Functions and will help make serverless compute more palatable for Microsoft’s traditional developer base.

Read more about the local Runtime support here
And find more info on the Visual Studio tooling here:

Azure Cloud Shell

Those of you paying close attention to the Azure Portal UI in early May 2017 (during the week leading up to Build 2017) will have noticed a familiar looking icon in the upper corner of the screen:
Azure Cloud Shell
Many folks speculated that this would be a portal-based command line interface of some sort… and they were right!

The Azure Cloud Shell is now available for all Azure users. It’s a full-fledged Bash shell running on a cloud-based VM, with durable storage on an Azure file share (created on first use). It comes pre-configured with the latest version of the Azure CLI, reducing or eliminating the need for you to install it on your local machine. It also auto-authenticates to your Azure account and subscriptions, eliminating the Azure CLI “Authentication Dance of Love” we all know so well.

The Cloud Shell is likely most relevant to developers and other folks working interactively with Azure resources on a regular basis; it’s probably less immediately relevant for tasks like automated DevOps pipelines. And I did have some minor difficulties configuring things like the Kubernetes CLI, though those are likely temporary issues (or pilot error 🙂 ). Long-term, this is definitely a tool you want to keep handy in your Azure developer toolbox.

Check out this short video tour I made of the new shell here:

Azure Portal App for Android and iOS

Another long-overdue addition to the Azure developer and DevOps toolkit are full-featured mobile apps for extending Azure administrative capabilities to your phone. Azure apps for both Android and iOS were launched at Build 2017, and promise to make it even easier for you to spend too much time staring at your phone, and not enough time in the real world. 🙂
TreyResearchWeb
You can download the freely available apps from Google Play
Or you can download it from the App Store

Avatar

Written by

Josh Lane

Josh has spent two decades building software and teaching others to do the same, including the last several years focused on software and data architectures in the cloud. He is a Microsoft Azure MVP and Azure Content Lead at Cloud Academy.

Related Posts

Avatar
Andrew Larkin
— August 13, 2019

Content Roadmap: AZ-500, ITIL 4, MS-100, Google Cloud Associate Engineer, and More

Last month, Cloud Academy joined forces with QA, the UK’s largest B2B skills provider, and it put us in an excellent position to solve a massive skills gap problem. As a result of this collaboration, you will see our training library grow with additions from QA’s massive catalog of 500+...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • content roadmap
  • Google Cloud Platform
Avatar
Andrew Larkin
— August 7, 2019

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

If you want to deliver digital services of any kind, you’ll need to estimate all types of resources, not the least of which are CPU, memory, storage, and network connectivity. Which resources you choose for your delivery —  cloud-based or local — is up to you. But you’ll definitely want...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Computing
  • Google Cloud Platform
Orion Withrow
Orion Withrow
— July 24, 2019

How to Effectively Use Azure Management Groups, Subscriptions, and Resource Groups

When used individually, Azure Management Groups, Subscriptions, and Resource Groups are very powerful. But when used together, they can establish the entire organizational structure of Azure. In this article, I will explain Azure Resource Manager, Management Groups, Subscriptions an...

Read more
  • Azure
  • azure management groups
  • azure resource groups
  • azure subscriptions
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— July 22, 2019

Cloud Academy’s Blog Digest: July 2019

July has been a very exciting month for us at Cloud Academy. On July 10, we officially joined forces with QA, the UK’s largest B2B skills provider (read the announcement). Over the coming weeks, you will see additions from QA’s massive catalog of 500+ certification courses and 1500+ ins...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Academy
  • Cybersecurity
  • DevOps
  • Kubernetes
Avatar
Paola Di Pietro
— July 19, 2019

Top 10 Things Cybersecurity Professionals Need to Know

There has been an increase in data breaches over the recent years. With almost 143 million Americans who have had their data compromised in data breaches. These breaches include all sorts of sensitive data, including financial information, election controversies, social security, just t...

Read more
  • Azure
  • cyber security
  • Security
Avatar
Guy Hummel
— June 26, 2019

Running Apache Spark on Azure Databricks

In this article, we’ll cover how to set up an Azure Databricks cluster and how to run queries in an interactive notebook. However, this article only scratches the surface of what you can do with Azure Databricks. If you would like to learn more, including how to create graphs, run sched...

Read more
  • Azure
Avatar
Thomas Mitchell
— June 25, 2019

Understanding the Core Azure Architectural Components

Microsoft Azure relies on a few key architectural components to provide redundancy and high availability. Core Azure architectural components include Azure regions, Azure Availability Zones, resource groups, and the Azure Resource Manager. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics ab...

Read more
  • Azure
Avatar
Guy Hummel
— June 6, 2019

How to Become a Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator

Microsoft Azure is one of the hottest cloud services on the planet, and it’s growing at a phenomenal rate. This rapid growth has created a huge demand for people who know how to administer and manage Azure implementations. To make it easier for employers to verify the skills of Azure...

Read more
  • Azure
  • exam
Avatar
Guy Hummel
— May 20, 2019

Preparing for the Microsoft AZ-900 Exam

Microsoft has offered Azure certification exams for years, but until recently, they were all meant for technical IT professionals. Now non-technical professionals, such as salespeople and managers, can take the new AZ-900 exam to prove their understanding of Azure fundamentals. People w...

Read more
  • Azure
Avatar
Thomas Mitchell
— May 16, 2019

An Overview of Azure Storage (Part 2)

Archive Storage Archive Storage offers the lowest storage costs of all Azure storage. Its retrieval costs, however, are higher when compared to Hot and Cool storage. The archive tier of storage is designed for data that can tolerate several hours of latency when being retrieved. It’s a...

Read more
  • Azure
  • Storage
Avatar
Thomas Mitchell
— May 14, 2019

An Overview of Azure Storage (Part 1)

Welcome to part one of our series on Azure Storage. Stay tuned for the second part. An Overview of Azure Storage Microsoft Azure Storage is a cloud-based storage offering that provides multiple storage solutions for organizations. In addition to a massively scalable object store for ...

Read more
  • Azure
  • Storage
Avatar
Giacomo Marinangeli
— March 29, 2019

NEW: Custom Hands-On Labs for Azure and Google Cloud Platform

Harvard Business Review recently estimated that some 90% of corporate training never gets applied on the job. Given the $200B training industry, that is a staggering amount of waste. One reason for the disconnect? Lack of context. Cloud Academy’s platform was built to make it extraor...

Read more
  • Azure
  • Content Engine
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Hands-on Labs