Monthly Azure news November 2021

As you may have expected, we’re sharing some exciting news important to the Cloud Native enthusiasts. In our November issue read about some of the great Microsoft Ignite announcements, Azure Container Apps, .NET 6.0 for Azure Functions, and more. Enjoy the read.


Azure Container Apps – a serverless container service for running modern apps at scale

Nowadays companies use cloud-native software development with microservice architecture to deliver value in a modern way to their customers. To run their microservices many of them are relying on container orchestration tools like Kubernetes. But these tools require infrastructure management which increases the effort to deliver and operate applications. This brings us to Azure Container Apps, a service presented during Microsoft Ignite 2021.

Azure Container Apps helps to run microservices and containerized applications on a fully-managed serverless service. Common scenarios of Azure Container Apps include:

  • Hosting API endpoints
  • Runnning background processing applications
  • Scaling event-driven processing
  • Deploying microservices

Azure Container Apps are backed by the open-source and cloud-native ecosystem:

  • Containers are deployed to an abstracted Azure Kubernetes Service
  • Scaling is managed by KEDA, an event-driven autoscaling project
  • Microservices are exposed via Envoy
  • State-of-the-art cloud-native development with Dapr integrated by default

If you would like to gain more insights on Azure Container Apps don’t miss our latest Azure Rosenheim Meetup. Visit our YouTube channel to find out more.

General availability: Event Hubs Premium

Azure Event Hubs is a publish-subscribe service that can ingest millions of events per second. Those events can then be streamed to multiple configurable consumers. The service is highly scalable and lets you process and analyze a mass amount of data produced by your connected devices and applications. Once Event Hubs has collected the data, you can retrieve, transform, and store them. You can improve your Event Hub performance further by using the Premium level SKU which is now out of preview and generally available. This service is especially worth having a look at if you require high throughput, low latency, isolation, and more predictability.

The Azure Event Hub Premium has the following characteristics:

  • Isolated CPU and memory level for each workload
  • Purchasable 1,2,4,8 or 16 resource container (Processing Units with ~5-10 MB/s ingress and ~10-20 MB/s egress) for each Event Hub Premium namespace
  • No Throttling limits for data streaming scenarios
  • two-tier, native-code log storage engine that provides far more predictable and much lower ingestion and end-to-end latencies
  • Supports availability zones with triple replicated events

.NET 6.0 for Azure Functions, Azure Web Apps and Azure Static Web Apps is now available

Microsoft worked to achieve Day 0 support for Web Apps, Static Web Apps, and Azure Functions runtime 4.0 with the release of .NET 6.

.NET 6 provides a high increase in performance which leads to reduced costs for hosted Cloud Services in Azure. .NET 6 will be supported for 3 years. It is the first release that natively supports Apple Silicon (Arm64) and has also been improved for Windows Arm64. It deploys .NET 6.0 Blazor WebAssembly apps automatically, including those that use advanced .NET 6.0 features. For backend APIs, you can build and deploy .NET 6.0 Azure Functions with your static web apps. Both in-process and isolated .NET 6.0 function apps are supported. 

If you want to see what else is new in .NET 6, check out this link.

Azure SQL—Maintenance windows now in preview

Applying to Azure SQL Database and SQL Managed Instances, the Maintenance window feature is now in preview and free of charge making maintenance events more predictable. The maintenance window is intended for production workloads that are not resilient to database or instance reconfigurations and cannot absorb short connection interruptions caused by planned maintenance events. You can choose a dedicated maintenance window defining the time outside of business hours. Maintenance is blocked by default from 8 AM to 5 PM at the local time zone.

Now two additional windows for Azure SQL can be chosen:

  • Weekday window: 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM local time, Monday – Thursday
  • Weekend window: 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM local time, Friday – Sunday

Configuring maintenance window is a long-running asynchronous operation, similar to changing the service tier of the Azure SQL resource. With the help of notification, it is possible to get informed ahead of any update event to your services.

Additional Updates for Azure SQL

Azure SQL got a lot of updates in November which are worth checking out:

  • the storage limit for SQL Managed Instances General Purpose is raised to 16TB (check here)
  • the backup frequency for differential backups can be changed from 12 to 24 hours
  • SQL Managed instances can now be moved from one subnet to another online. You can read more on the blog here

Azure Database for MySQL – Flexible Server is now generally available

Azure Database for MySQL Flexible Server is a fully managed production-ready database service designed to provide more granular control and flexibility in database management features and configuration settings. With the Flexible Server architecture, users can select high availability in a single availability zone as well as multiple availability zones. Scaling within seconds isn’t a problem. The service offers three different tiers (Burstable, General Purpose, and Memory Optimized) with different memory and compute capacities.

The service is optimized for application developments requiring community MySQL as well as production workloads with high availability (zone redundant or same zone) and managed maintenance windows. It provides simplified scaling and reduces database management overhead. It has automatic backups, network isolation, and patches in a defined and managed maintenance window.

Azure Database for MySQL – Flexible Server: Terraform support is generally available

With Terraform support, you can now easily manage different configurations efficiently based on your growing application needs. Terraform allow you to define, provision, and configure your Azure Database for MySQL – Flexible Server in a repeatable and predictable manner.

More details are available here.

Azure Backup for Azure Database for PostgreSQL – Single Server: Long-term retention generally available

The Azure Backup service provides you with simple, secure, and cost-effective solutions to back up your data and recover it from Microsoft Azure services. Azure Backup now supports Azure Database for PostgreSQL – Single Server to retain data for up to 10 years in the standard or archive tier.

Azure Database for PostgreSQL – Flexible Server: Geo-redundant backup and restore in public preview

Postgre SQL now supports the Geo-redundant backup and restores feature for Flexible Servers in preview. Geo-redundancy allows you to restore your databases to a different region in the event of a disaster. Currently, supported regions are Central US, East US 2, Japan East, Japan West, North Europe, and West Europe.

Application Insights auto-instrumentation for .NET 6 App Services

Application Insights is an extensible Application Performance Management (APM) service. It will automatically detect performance anomalies and includes powerful analytics tools to help you diagnose issues and to understand what users actually do with your app.

Auto-instrumentation allows you to enable instrumentation with Application Insights without changing your code by leveraging .Net 6.0 and App Services.

Azure Web PubSub service now generally available

Azure Web PubSub enables you to build communication-intensive applications. It is lightweight, cross-platform, and real-time. Azure Web PubSub supports both native and serverless WebSockets, allowing users to leverage publish-subscribe messaging patterns and let Web PubSub handle communication needs between an application and its clients.

Public preview: Azure SQL bindings for Azure Functions

Azure Functions now support input and output bindings for Azure SQL as a preview feature. The Azure SQL input binding retrieves data from a database and passes it to the input parameter of the function. The Azure SQL output binding, on the other hand, lets you write to a database. You can look up fitting samples in the documentation for input bindings and output bindings.

Public preview: Node.js 16 in Azure Functions

Azure Functions support for Node.js 16 is now in public preview in Azure Functions runtime 4.0. More details on Node.js 16 are available here.

SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) support for Azure Blob Storage (preview)

Blob storage now supports the SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) in public preview. This support provides the ability to securely connect to Blob Storage accounts through an SFTP endpoint, allowing you to use SFTP for file access, file transfer, and file management. If you want to get more detailed information, please don’t miss to review the documentation.

Azure Cache for Redis: Redis 6.0 supported in general availability

Azure Cache for Redis is a fully managed in-memory cache that enables high-performance and scalable architectures. Data is stored in Azure Cache for Redis in memory and is therefore quickly accessible. Redis 6.0 is now officially supported for Azure Cache. For more information follow this link.

Dapr extention for AKS in Public preview

Dapr is a portable, event-driven runtime that makes it easy for developers to build resilient, stateless, and stateful microservices that run in the cloud and edge and embrace the diversity of languages and developer frameworks. it is now available as an Azure Kubernetes Service extension in public preview. With this extension, you can provision Dapr on your own AKS without managing Dapr on your own. For more information visit this site.

Managed NAT gateway integration with AKS in Public preview

A NAT gateway is a network address translation (NAT) service. With NAT gateway support, ingress traffic can be handled via the Load Balancer, and egress traffic can be distributed across up to 16 IP addresses, providing the potential for 64,000 concurrent UDP and TCP flows per IP. Find more details here.

General availability: AKS support for Secrets Store CSI driver

The Container Storage Interface (CSI) is a standard for exposing block and file storage systems to containerized workloads. With the Secrets Store CSI Driver, it is now possible to integrate Azure KeyVault to mount secrets, keys, and certificates into your containerized workloads.

Public preview: OpenID Connect integration between Azure AD and GitHub Actions

Enhance your DevSecOps experience by using the new OpenID Connect integration that is in public preview now. OpenID Connect offers a framework for handling authentication and authorization. It is set up on top of the OAuth 2.0 protocol. It allows Clients to verify the identity of the End-User based on the authentication performed by an Authorization Server. This feature allows you to leverage the GitHub Actions secret store and secure your deployments by not needing to manage secrets in GitHub and Azure. Learn more here.

General availability: Azure Monitor container insights for Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes

With Container insights, a feature designed to monitor the performance and logs of container workload, it is now fully supported to get details about Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes clusters. This includes infrastructure metrics, alerting, and container logs. Get all your information about the service and prerequisites here, as it is now generally available.

Logic Apps Standard Plan updates in general availability

Azure Logic Apps is a cloud workflow automation platform that integrates apps, data, services, and systems with little to no code. Now a bunch of updates to the Azure Logic Apps Standard Plan are generally available. This includes:

  • using SQL as a storage provider (preview)
  • using Managed identity for applications
  • automation tasks for daily tasks
  • a dedicated Designer
  • improved Connectors and consumption to standard export (public preview)

Get full details of the release here.

Cost saving recommendations in Azure Advisor for Azure Cosmos DB now generally available

Azure Advisor is a personalized cloud advisor that helps you with best practices to optimize Azure deployments. Now in general availability, the Advisor supports automated Azure Cosmos DB cost optimization and also provides recommendations. More details here.

Azure AD-only authentication with Azure SQL

It is now possible to use AD-only authentication which allows to only leverage the Azure AD authentication and disable SQL authentication via SQL credentials. For more details follow the link.

General availability of custom OpenID providers in App Service and Azure Functions

App Service and Azure Functions support for OpenID providers is now generally available. This feature allows using any custom authentication provider based on the OpenID Connect (OIDC) provider standard. More details are available in the documentation.

Public preview: Azure Chaos Studio – improve resilience with controlled chaos

Azure Chaos Studio is a new service now in public preview. Chaos Studio enables developers to orchestrate fault injection on Azure resources in a safe and controlled manner. Chaos Studio gives you the power to intentionally disrupt your applications to identify gaps and plan remediation – before your users are affected by a problem.

Chaos engineering with Azure Chaos Studio can help you with:

  • increase service resiliency and ability to react to failures
  • apply chaos principles continuously
  • create and organize a central chaos engineering team
  • follow best practices for chaos testing

You will find all the details and how to start here.

Open Service Mesh add-on for AKS is now generally available

The Open Service Mesh add-on for Azure Kubernetes Service is not generally available. Open Service Mesh (OSM) is a lightweight and extendable service mesh based on the Envoy project. The OSM implementation is based on the Service Mesh interface to provide the most common Service Mesh features. The add-on provides you with first-class support on AKS. Find all the details here.