It’s been a while since the end of Microsoft Ignite 2022 – a hybrid event that took place in the mid-October 2022. Though lots of Ignite events are available on demand, I was so excited by their latest Azure-wise announcement that I’ve decided to write about them.
I have a strong feeling that my notes and takeaways digest will be useful for Azure ninjas as well as for the ones who are still honing their Azure skills.
The entire announcement made by Satya Nadella has contained Azure Arc, Azure VMs AMPERE, Azure SSDv2 Disk storage (SQL DB), Elastic SAN, Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL, Azure Synapse Analytics (Link connection, Data Explorer), Azure OpenAI Service, Microsoft Designer, and GitHub Copilot.
In this article, will focus on describing the most vivid things that touch services, features, and security areas of the large Azure ecosystem.
Let’s get started!
Azure Deployment Environment
Microsoft announced the public preview of Azure Deployment Environments (ADE). Azure Deployment Environments help developers to save time and spin up on-demand app deployment environments using infrastructure-as-code templates. Templates are built as ARM (and eventually Terraform and Bicep) files and kept in source control repositories with versioning, access control, and pull request processes, making it easy for developers to collaborate across teams.
Announced Azure Deployment Environment introduces an avenue for simplifying and accelerating on-demand app deployments using Infrastructure-as-a-Code templates. This is a managed service that works with the existing development platform and natively integrates with your CI/CD. Azure Deployment Environments work with ARM-based templates (and, eventually, Terraform and Bicep).
Infrastructure-as-a-Code approach enables every new deployment with its own infrastructure like data and storage, ensuring the security and governance tools are already in place.
Need to spin up an environment to test some code? Automate in as a part of your pipeline? Simply pick a needed template from the library and let ADE do the magic.
How you can use it
- Quickly create on-demand Azure environments by using reusable infrastructure-as-code (IaC) templates.
- Create sandbox environments to test your code.
- Pre-configure various types of environments and seamlessly integrate with your CI/CD pipeline.
- Create pre-configured environments for trainings and demos.
- Provide project-based curated set of reusable ‘infra as code’ templates.
- Define specific Azure deployment configurations per project and per environment type.
- Provide self-service experience without giving control over subscription.
- Track cost and ensure compliance with enterprise governance policies.
- Deploy a pre-configured environment for any stage of your development cycle.
- Spin up a sandbox environment to explore Azure.
- Create PaaS and IaaS environments quickly and easily by following a few simple steps.
- Deploy an environment easily and quickly right from where you work.
GitHub Copilot is a new service from GitHub and OpenAI that uses OpenAI Codex to suggest code snippets and entire functions in real-time right from your editor. Technically, it is a VSCode plugin that auto-generates code for you based on the contents of the current file, and your current cursor location.
For me, it is a good way for experienced developers to save time spent on googling stackoverflowing things and be more productive. I use it to auto-fill some routine and boilerplate in my code and I do not use it for new syntax things or an ultimate cheat sheet.
Copilot is public and available for $10 USD/month or $100 USD/year. It will also be free to use for verified students and maintainers of popular open-source projects. Microsoft says that writing a web server in JavasScript takes 55% less time with Copilot.
Here’s where you can try it: https://plugins.jetbrains.com/plugin/17718-github-copilot
Azure SSD V2 Disk storage
One announcement surprise for me was Azure Premium SSD V2 Disk Storage, the next generation of Microsoft Azure Premium SSD Disk Storage. It is a significant performance enhancement compared to v1.
The key benefits, from my point of view, are:
- Granular disk size in 1 GiB increments
- Independent provisioning of IOPS, throughput, and GiB
- Consistent sub-millisecond latency.
- Easier maintenance with scaling performance up and down without downtime
Shortly, SSD V2 allows Azure users to provision more disk storage capacity and comply with workload requirements in a better way. Thus, with Premium SSD V2 you will be more flexible with performance and cost management.
Bad news: Premium SSD v2 is only supported as a data disk and not as an OS Disk. Good news: Users can store incremental snapshots for Premium SSD v2 on Standard SSD storage.
Azure K8s Fleet Manager
This highly anticipated feature handles multi-cluster and at-scale scenarios for load balancing across multiple AKS clusters. It supports joining the following types of existing AKS clusters as member clusters:
- AKS clusters across same or different resource groups within same subscription
- AKS clusters across different subscriptions of the same Azure AD tenant
- AKS clusters from different regions but within the same tenant
Fleet provides `ClusterResourcePlacement` as a mechanism to control how cluster-scoped Kubernetes resources are propagated to member clusters.
For now, you can join up to 20 AKS clusters as member clusters to one fleet resource.
I think it provides significant advantages in hybrid and multi-cloud environments, enabling you to operate across multiple public clouds and data center environments with less friction while enabling a greater level of standardization. Given that most organizaitons use public cloud K8s services, Azure’s K8s Fleet Management complements cluster-related efforts and accelerates the overall development.
The icing on the cake: Microsoft Defender for DevOps
I appreciate Microsoft’s focus on security highlighted this year, and that’s why I love the latest Defender for DevOps update. They’ve finally addressed the main DevSecOps issue – limited security visibility. Defender for DevOps allows engineers to simply get visibility across multiple environments and strengthen cloud resource configurations in code.
I also love that Defender helps with prioritizing critical issues across multi-pipeline or multi-cloud environments.
Defender for DevOps gives the ‘helicopter view’ across multiple environments for a and helps to manage DevOps security and strengthen cloud resource configurations. This service supports GitHub and Azure DevOps, with the integrations for other DevOps platforms coming soon.
Microsoft Azure is one of the largest cloud solutions in the world and an outstanding platform for developers and enterprises to build apps. I think the listed above updates are exciting and they’re just a few of my favorites. As for the future, I’m all for Microsoft adding more DevSecOps-focused services to Azure and keeping their level ahead of competitors
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