Monthly Azure news April 2021

Your monthly dose of Azure news is online. As you may already know, in this blogpost you read about some of the most important Azure updates that have inspired our team during April. Enjoy the read and feel free to share with your community.

General availability: Azure Resource Manager–based deployment model for Azure Cloud Services

It took almost 10 years but finally, it is possible to deploy Azure Cloud Services via Azure Resource Manager (ARM). This not only means that we can build Azure Cloud Service-related infrastructure with a desired state-based infrastructure as code (IaC) approach. It also allows us to use familiar features such as role-based access control (RBAC), policies, and even private links!

There are now two editions of Azure Cloud Services:

  • Azure Cloud Services (classic): This is the Azure Service Manager–based deployment model which you can keep using if you don’t want to switch the deployment model
  • Azure Cloud Services (extended support): The Azure Resource Manager–based deployment mode which will allow you to create the service in a state of the art way.

Both Azure Cloud Services editions (classic as well as extended support) are now generally available.

Learn more.

Public preview: Migration of Azure Cloud Services (classic) to Azure Resource Manager

Microsoft provides a migration solution for moving from Azure Cloud Services (classic) to the new Azure Resource Manager-based Azure Cloud Services (extended support). The migration can be performed via the Azure portal or using PowerShell and is currently in public preview.

The platform-supported migration is fully managed by Azure and moves the entire deployment with all corresponding resources to the Azure Resource Manager. Also the migration can be done without any downtime.

Learn more.

General availability: Azure IoT Edge release 1.2.0

Microsoft has released a new Azure IoT Edge version on GitHub. Besides numerous bug fixes in the Edge Agent and MQTT Broker, a few new improvements and features like the support of RPC subscription requests have been implemented.

The full release notes can be found on GitHub.

Attention: Release 1.2.0 is not a long-term support (LTS) version. Microsoft recommends staying on the LTS branch (version 1.1) for production scenarios unless one of the features contained in 1.2.0 is necessary.

Learn more.

General availability: Name uniqueness for Log Analytics is now per resource group

Previously, the log analytics workspace name had to be globally unique across all subscriptions. From now on, the uniqueness is only required in the resource group context. This allows you to use the same workspace name in different environments (e.g. production and staging) to ensure consistency.

The workspace uniqueness is now maintained as follows:

  • Workspace ID: Global uniqueness
  • Workspace resource ID: Global uniqueness
  • Workspace name: Per resource group uniqueness

For cross workspace queries such as alerts, Microsoft recommends referencing the workspace by either Qualified name, Workspace ID or Azure Resource ID.

Learn more.

General availability: Azure API Management support for Availability Zones

Azure API Management already supports multi-region deployment, allowing API publishers to distribute a single Azure API Management service in any number of supported Azure regions. This significantly improves the availability of the gateway component when a region goes offline.

Now you can combine the multi-region deployments with availability zones for redundancy within a single region to further increase the availability if there is a regional outage. With zone redundancy, the components of Azure API Management are replicated in physically separate data centers.

Learn more.

Work with GitHub Actions in your terminal with GitHub CLI

The GitHub CLI brings GitHub to the command line and offers developers the ability to manage things like repositories and pull requests directly from the terminal.

In the new version 1.9.0, which was released on 14.04.2021, three new commands were added that now also provide the ability to manage GitHub Actions with the CLI

  • gh run – Lists, views, and interacts with workflow runs
  • gh workflow – Lists, views, runs and toggles workflow files
  • gh actions – Shows information about the integration between the CLI and GitHub Actions

Here an example output of the gh run command, showing the last runs of our whiteducksoftware/clockodo-automation automation repository:

Learn more.

General availability: Azure DevOps Personal Access Token Lifecycle APIs

A Personal Access Token (PAT) is used as an alternate password to authenticate into Azure DevOps. They are often used when we work with third-party tools where we do not want to enter primary credentials or where a limited access scope is sufficient.

It is best practice to rotate PATs regularly, given how powerful they can be. Until recently, the Personal Access Tokens could only be manually managed via the Azure DevOps UI. With the PAT Lifecycle Management APIs release, we can now leverage these APIs to set up automated pipelines for rotating PAT tokens.

Learn more.

Announcement: Visual Studio 2022

The next major Visual Studio release promises a lot: It is supposed to be faster, more accessible, and more lightweight.
For the first time, Visual Studio 2022 ships as a 64-bit application. This means that the devenv.exe process finally has more than ~4 GB of RAM available. Microsoft also improved the user experience which will feel cleaner, more intelligent, and action-oriented.

The first public preview of Visual Studio 2022 will be released this summer.

Learn more.

Public Preview: New Azure VMs sizes for memory-intensive and general-purpose workloads

Microsoft has expanded its offering with six new sizes for Azure Virtual Machine:

  • Dv5, Dsv5, Ddv5, and Ddsv5 are targeting general-purpose workloads and can scale up to 96 vCPUs and up to 2,400 GiB local SSD storage
  • Ev5 and Edv5 are for memory-intensive workloads and can scale up to 672 GiB of RAM

The new Azure VMs series is based on the 3rd Generation Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8370C Ice Lake processor and offers a better price/performance ratio for general-purpose and memory-intensive workloads compared to the previous generation.

Learn more.

General availability: Upgraded work item integration for Application Insights

With the Work Item integration feature, you can easily create work items in GitHub or Azure DevOps that embed relevant Application Insights data. This data helps developers understand the context of a bug or performance issue and accelerate its resolution.

With the new update, some improvements have been added. The most notable change is probably that we now can configure and deploy the work item templates via ARM. In addition, we can now add any data from Application Insights to the work items using the Keyword Query Language (KQL). Further, Microsoft added some additional fields to the template like assignee, projects, and milestones.

Learn more.

Public Preview: Active geo-replication for Azure SQL Hyperscale

Active geo-replication is a disaster recovery capability that enables customer applications to have a disaster recovery strategy and regional resiliency. It provides the ability to create a readable secondary database in the same or a different region. In the case of a regional disaster, a failover to the secondary database can be initiated to ensure business continuity.

The Azure SQL geo-replication feature is now available in the Azure SQL Database Hyperscale tier. The Hyperscale service tier is a highly scalable storage and compute performance tier that supports up to 100 TB of database size.

Learn more.

General Availability: Azure Cache for Redis integration with Event Grid

With the announcement, we now have Azure Cache for Redis available as a new Event Publisher in Azure EventGrid. The Publisher can send Redis events when client exports, imports, or scales a cache instance or when Redis performs an update.

Event grid model.

A complete list of the events and the new Azure Cache for Redis events schema can be found here.

Learn more.

Public Preview: Azure Web PubSub service

With Azure Web PubSub service, Microsoft announced the preview of a completely new service for building real-time web applications with WebSockets and the publish-subscribe pattern. It provides built-in support for large-scale client connections and highly available architectures.

Similar to the Azure SignalR service, the Web PubSub real-time functionality allows publishing content updates between servers and connected clients like single-page web application (SPA) or mobile application. This means that clients do not need to poll for updates.

One key benefit of the new Azure Web PubSub service is that it can be used with any platform supporting WebSockets and that you can use it to build sophisticated applications.

Azure Web PubSub service usage scenarios

Learn more.