Microsoft Ignite 2017 – 7 Unique Advancements in Microsoft Azure


Azure, the cloud computing service by Microsoft is about to receive gallons of updates and all of them were announced one after the another at the Orlando-based Microsoft Ignite 2017 conference. Members of the Azure development team discussed and demonstrated the many new features and updates of Azure one by one and how it is going to steal the show in the echelon of cloud computing service providers.

Scott Guthrie, Executive vice president, was the host of the event who started the advancements rollout, saying, “I am going to go deeper into Microsoft Azure and how you can take advantage of it to build amazing solutions.”

“As you move increasingly large and complex applications to cloud, you need comprehensive tooling to build, deploy, and manage them efficiently”, he continued.

Azure is unique! One of the most unique aspect is the end-to-end management experience. How Microsoft has been working to make that experience better? The answer comes in the form of following points.

#1. Improved Management Capabilities of Azure

Microsoft Ignite 2017 - 7 Unique Advancements in Microsoft Azure - Sunil Jagani Blog

Corey Sanders, Partner Director Program Management, R&D, gave more than what you would call, a glimpse, of how easy and intelligent the management capabilities of Azure has become. To emphasize, he said, “I’m going to show you how easy it is as an IT professional to be able to use Azure. I’m going to make you more efficient, more productive.”

Infrastructure – Lots of  new infrastructure in Azure, such as GPU-powered infrastructure, InfiniBand powered HPC machines, CPU’s, and lots and lots of Memory.

New M-Series -With 128 VCPUSs – it very good for large sequel servers, or SAP Hana. Also great for running nested virtualization.

Literally, you can run two virtual machines inside a virtual machine. You can run one VM inside another VM inside the Azure VM.

And, with the new PowerShell built into the Azure Portal, you can create a VM through PowerShell instead of portal. Since this is tied to your browser, it goes anywhere. It can run on any OS, browser, even on your iPhone.

Management – 3 new features in the portal experience in Operations – Disaster Recovery, Update Management, Inventory, Change Tracking

  1. Update Management – Find every current and upcoming updates detail available here. It will show all the updates that has been installed, or need to be installed. For instance, it will show you OS updates. You can also schedule critical updates.

    One unique advantage is, it will work across all the machines in your infrastructure. Simply click on “Manage Machines” and it will show you all of the updates across your entire infrastructure.

    Also, you can manage and track your updates for on-premises machines too.

    It doesn’t end there! You can do “Change Tracking”, which means, you can see every change that’s happening on your virtual machine. Every file, every event, every registry that has happened.

  2. Disaster Recovery – Configure Site Recovery straight away in your virtual machine, pick your target region and do a Failover. “A Test Failover is literally a single click!”
  3. Monitoring – Log analytics comes in-built in the portal experience. Monitor millions of records in a second to create a beautiful picture for your analysis

#2. Build rich new app experiences

Azure will help you build rich new app experiences with Xamarin and CLoud connected experiences with ASP.NET core.

Inside the Visual Studio, go to File>New>Project. Inside the new project dialog, you will find all kinds of templates to create your mobile apps frontend and backend.

It also empowers you to connect your smartphone and get realtime updates. James Montemagno, principal program manager explains, “say, you started to build a mobile application on your Visual Studio. With Xamarin Live Player application, You can pair your iPhone or any Android Phone with the Visual Studion on your PC. Once connected, you will find all the files in your phone in mere moments.”

You will see realtime updates right on your phone

Visual Studio not only adds the Docker File, but it adds Docker composed so you can deploy it later

In simpler words, you can start your mobile development projects with nothing more than your iOS or Android device with Visual Studio and build beautiful web backends with ASP.NET core and to publish it up into docker images, all from visual studio

#3. DevOps

“DevOps is the union of People, process, and products to enable continuous delivery of value to your end users. With Azure and Visual Studio team services, we can now do that for any language, targeting any platform.”

Azure team has been particularly working on DevOps and how managing deployments can be much more faster here.

Previously, setting up a DevOps pipeline has not been quite easy. A DevOps that spans your build, test, and deployment environments and has integrated analytics throughout, which is optimized for team environment, has traditionally not been very easy. Basically, it required manual integration of a lot of different teams and solutions.

However, with the new Visual Team services, it is much easier to adopt a DevOps base model and set your team up for success.

ESTS is fully integrated into Azure and includes everything you need and works with every language and run-time environment you have.

Donovan Brown, Principal DevOps Manager, said, “you will now have a Product Backlog that shows you User Stories, Bugs, and Tasks, all in one place, and in priority order, so that we can focus on the most important things first.”

Here’s how you can manage different elements of DevOps more efficiently with Azure:

Status Reports –  Writing status reports is necessary, yet boring. However, with thehelp of the new ConBon Board, which is a real time status report, you can do so many things without actually doing it. You can see what your team members are doing, things that needs your involvements, and about updating status, well you can simply drag and drop from one column to next.

“Also, with the Conbon board, when you create a branch, it will get associated with the work item. Also, every Commit that you make to that branch will also be associated with the work item”, explained Donovan.

Deploying a software – Azure brings the power of Visual Studio team services right into the hands of IT pro in the Azure portal.

Click on the tile that represents web app. A Blade that allows you to setup continuous delivery will open. Here, you also get the power of VSTS, but you get to use it for Azure, which is an additional advantage. Hence, as an IT professional, you don’t have to wait for your dev team to set up CI and CD. You can now do it yourself!

#4. Hybrid Cloud Capabilities

Microsoft Ignite 2017 - 7 Unique Advancements in Microsoft Azure - Sunil Jagani Blog

“Hybrid means connectivity between your on-premises data centers and a public cloud, integration and consistency across entire technology state – from identity system to infrastructure and developer platform to data state through your management security operations.”

The new additions truly makes Microsoft the only technology company delivering a complete hybrid cloud.

Azure Stack – An extension of Azure that provides a consistent cloud experience with the same management API, same set of developer services, same portal – and you can run and deploy it anywhere.

With Azure and Azure Stack, Microsoft will now allows organizations around the world to use cloud for Edge and Disconnected scenarios. This is a new feat in itself! For areas that do not have a stable network, countries that have stringent regulator policies, and factories that want more latency, Azure and Azure Stack can help you get along.

Scott asserted, “here are going to be scenarios where the data and applications need to reside in a specific country that doesn’t yet have a public cloud provider with the data center. The beauty of Azure Stack is that it gives you the ability to write their application once and deploy it both in Azure and run it in their own facilities with Azure Stack.”

#5. SQL Server 2017

Microsoft Ignite 2017 - 7 Unique Advancements in Microsoft Azure - Sunil Jagani Blog

“The recent release is the fastest, most intelligent, and most secured database on the planet and now provides ultimate flexibility. It is being released simultaneously on Linux, Windows Server, as well as Docker-based systems.”

SQL Server 2017 unique is the only data platform out there today that is available for both, on premises, and as a fully-managed database service in the cloud using Azure.

Microsoft Ignite 2017 - 7 Unique Advancements in Microsoft Azure - Sunil Jagani Blog

#6. Azure Cosmos DB

“The first globally distributed multi-model database service that delivers horizontal scale with guaranteed single digit millisecond latency. It’s designed to explicitly handle these next-generation intelligent apps.”

The Cosmos Database will replicate data to any Azure region and give users lightning fast performance, regardless of point of access of application.

Cosmos DB also ensures scaling of storage and performance throughput across one or multiple Azure regions with zero application downtime.

For instance, start with gigabytes of data and scale it to manage petabytes of data or start with processing 100s operations per second to tens of millions of operations per second.

#7. Azure Machine Learning Workbench

Microsoft Ignite 2017 - 7 Unique Advancements in Microsoft Azure - Sunil Jagani Blog

A client site tool that allows users to be more productive as they build their AI applications and integrate them with Azure machine learning service running in the cloud. It runs on both, Mac and Windows systems.

AMLB also makes Data Wrangling and modelling tasks lightning fast compared to what you had to do before.

It also provides an incredibly agile environment in which you can build and test these models

Summing up…

What Azure provides, No other cloud can!

Azure is not just bringing new technologies and features, but it is also introducing new approaches that can be used to delivery and consistent improvement of your solutions.

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