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New Capabilities Coming to Azure

18 June 2021 | Articles | Maarten Rosier

microsoft build 2021 recap infographic by devoteam cloudify

After more than a year of uncertainty, Microsoft’s annual developer’s conference, Microsoft Build 2021, was hotly anticipated. The conference is always a key event for developers who build applications for Microsoft Azure, since it outlines the company’s developer cloudscape and reveals significant product announcements and new releases.  

In this article we discuss the key takeaways from the conference and how these are relevant to organisations running apps in Azure. 

Azure application services: Run your apps anywhere  

Microsoft announced the preview capabilities of Azure application services to run on basically all CNCF-conformant Kubernetes clusters that are connected via Azure Arc. 

In short, cloud-native applications do not have to run through an Azure datacenter anymore as you can now deploy them on AWS, Google Cloud, Kubernetes, on-premise and of course anywhere across Azure.  

The specific Azure application services that can now be run virtually anywhere are:  

Organisations who were previously concerned about compliance regulations, low-latency connections via computers in edge locations, or those that have simply been apprehensive about the Cloud, can relax after this announcement. Developers no longer need to choose between the productivity that Azure application services provide and the control of Kubernetes. This development will also facilitate the implementation of multi-cloud infrastructures.  

The Azure Portal, along with governance and compliance through Azure policy, will be available through one single pane of glass, together with the flexibility of running it anywhere at any time.  

Additionally, the announcement also carries regulatory benefits, meaning that developers can still utilize the cloud whilst meeting the requirements of having certain services on-premise. Since regulations might force companies to own or apply data themselves on-premise or in the cloud, this news means that companies can comply with these regulations more easily. This will be especially important for organisations operating in the financial, health, and utilities industries, as well as for governments and militaries. 

Simplified deployment with Azure Bicep v0.4 

Microsoft announced the release of Bicep v0.4, available from June 2, 2021, making it even easier to deploy Azure resources.  

Bicep v0.4 enables easier day-to-day authoring for developers, as well as a general improvement in quality and stability. This new version will also accelerate the journey from development to production, provide developers with more control, and reduce complexity by introducing a cleaner syntax to reuse your code.  

Users will also be able to enjoy the following Bicep v0.4 capabilities:  

  • The Bicep linter will inspect your code and catch a customizable set of authoring best practices. It will surface warnings, errors, or informational messages as you are typing in VS Code for immediate feedback. This means you do not have to build or deploy your code to find out that you have made a mistake. Some rules can also surface an automatic code fix through the VS Code light bulb. 
  • Integration of new resource snippets. 
  • Resource scaffolding: allows you to deploy resources much faster as Bicep v.04 will automatically add the required code and properties for any resource you declare which speeds up the process significantly. 
  • The ability to transition any Bicep examples to the ARM Template QuickStart GitHub repository. In practice, this means you now have a richer testing suite, which helps you make sure Bicep examples are of the highest quality 

Bicep is already integrated in our Devoteam Azure Cloud Enabler, utilizing Microsoft’s native tools, to configure our infrastructure as code (IaC). This makes it easy to move from development to production templates by simply merging or copying the exact same code.  

Over 60% of our Devoteam QuickStart templates have already been converted to Bicep. If you’re interested in learning more, contact the Devoteam Sales team to get started with Bicep in IaC deployments.   

devoteam quickstart-template converted to bicep v0.4
Devoteam QuickStart templates have already been converted to Bicep.

New capabilities: Azure Monitor Agent  

Microsoft announced new capabilities in Azure Monitor, which provides customers with greater flexibility, improved sharing, and end-to-end diagnostics to make managing Azure resources easier across the board.  

Azure Monitor is used to monitor the condition of their applications, identify issues, improve performance, and create an efficient environment from coding to shipping. The improved capabilities include:  

  • Azure Monitor Agent and data collection rules will enable you to be more specific about selecting workloads, which are important and which you want to track and monitor. This is obviously big news, as it will not only reduce costs, (all the logs that are created on Azure create huge amounts of data) but also centralize monitoring.   
  • You are now also able to set up and share query packs of log analytics queries within your company. The benefit here is that tech teams can now prepare pre-made query packs, which can be easily used by non-expert individuals.  

The new Azure Monitor Agent will simplify the extensions required to collect application logs. With data collection rules, you can now further customize performance metrics or event logs and create more specific sets for workloads.  

At Devoteam, we already use this method for our clients to collect specific performance metrics required for Windows Virtual desktop, without having to gather data from any other virtual machine (VM) connected to the same log analytics workspace. In fact, we already enrol this new agent on VMs and cater for Collection Rules in Infrastructure as Code. 

Get started with new Microsoft Azure capabilities

Microsoft used this year’ conference to strengthen key Azure capabilities and to open them up to multi-cloud environments. Here at Devoteam Cloudify, our Infrastructure as Code assets already align and work with these new capabilities to give our clients access to the latest technologies and best practices. 

If you are ready to start enjoying the benefits of these new significant announcements, contact us now to discover how we can support you on your Azure cloud journey. 

Featured image used with permission from Microsoft.