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Serverless in Context
Getting the Most From Azure Functions
An Introduction to Azure Functions
Serverless Computing has emerged as a capable and low-friction means to execute custom logic in the public cloud. Whether you're using Amazon Lambda, Google Cloud Functions, or Azure Functions, you have a wide variety of target languages, ecosystem integrations, and deployment mechanisms to choose from. All this while leaving the heavy lifting of server provisioning and maintenance to the experts, which gives you plenty of time to focus on your differentiated application functionality.
In this "Introduction to Azure Functions" course, you’ll learn how to build Azure Function applications in the cloud. You'll discover the core feature set of Functions and see how to integrate with a variety of sibling Azure services. You'll explore Function topics like security, monitoring, deployment, and testing best practices. You'll also learn about ideal Functions use cases and the pricing model. Finally, you'll learn about how we've arrived at the serverless computing model, and where serverless is likely to go in the future. By the end of this course, you’ll have a solid foundation to continue exploring Functions on your own, and incorporating Azure Functions capability into your work.
An Introduction to Azure Functions: What You'll Learn
|Lecture||What you'll learn|
|Intro||What to expect from this course|
|Serverless Computing In Context||Understanding what serverless computing is, and how we got here|
|Core Features||A high-level overview of what Azure Functions is, and its basic capabilities|
|Creating Your First Function||A demo of creating your first function in the Azure portal|
|Security||A review of security features in Azure Functions|
|Using API Key Management||A demo of configuring an Azure Function to require API key use|
|HTTP Proxies||A discussion of lightweight HTTP Proxy support|
|Proxying Azure Blob Storage||A demo of using Functions' HTTP Proxy support to front Azure blob storage|
|Triggers and Bindings||Event-based triggering of functions and declarative binding of inputs and outputs|
|Triggering on Queues and Binding to DocumentDB||A demo of Triggering with Azure Queues and Binding Function Output to DocumentDB|
|Testing and Debugging||Tools and techniques for working with Functions during the development cycle|
|Deployment||Options for deploying Azure Function apps into production|
|Deploying From a Local Git Repo||A demo of deploying a complete Azure Function app to the cloud, from a local Git repository|
|Monitoring||Tools for monitoring Azure Functions during dev, test, and release|
|Use Cases||A discussion of ideal use cases for serverless compute and Azure Functions|
|Pricing||A review of how Functions are priced, and a demo of determining price using the Azure Pricing Calculator|
|Serverless in the Future||A short discussion on the future of serverless in the cloud|
|Summary||Course wrap up|
If you have thoughts or suggestions for this course, please contact Cloud Academy at email@example.com.
The runtime behavior of Azure functions can be monitored in several different ways.
The simplest of these is to use the invocation log window in the functions blade of the portal. This gives you a simple list of invocations for each function in your app, including success or failure status, and elapsed execution duration.
From within the functions blade, you can also access more detailed, live event streaming information. This gives you a graphical, near real-time view into success or failure of function invocations. More detailed log level information can be viewed in the browser with the logs window in the main function blade view. You can also stream log output to a command line using Powershell or the Azure CLI. Of course, like any app service application, you also have full FTP access to application, web, and deployment logs if you need it.
Finally, if you're familiar with Azure, then you've likely used the Application Insights service to monitor apps in production. Application Insight provides robust collection and storage of a wide range of application health metrics. It also provides visualization and query capability to provide actionable interpretations of the data collected. It's one of the best diagnostics tools in all of Azure, and I highly recommend that you become familiar with it. At the time of this recording, full integration of function apps into App Insights is still in early preview. But you can track progress of the work and participate in beta releases by following along at the URL on screen.
About the Author
Josh Lane is a Microsoft Azure MVP and Azure Trainer and Researcher at Cloud Academy. He’s spent almost twenty years architecting and building enterprise software for companies around the world, in industries as diverse as financial services, insurance, energy, education, and telecom. He loves the challenges that come with designing, building, and running software at scale. Away from the keyboard you'll find him crashing his mountain bike, drumming quasi-rythmically, spending time outdoors with his wife and daughters, or drinking good beer with good friends.