Last week in Azure: Living the serverless life, Kubernetes, and more

Several of the items highlighted below focus on serverless solutions where you don’t need to provision and manage any servers so that you can take your mind off implementing infrastructure. Building a serverless application on Azure using services like Azure Functions, Logic Apps, and Azure Cosmos DB frees you to focus on what's truly unique about your solution.

Last week, I published a special three-part episode series of Azure Friday that features Donovan Brown and Ralph Squillace exploring the open source tool chain that enables container-native, microservice-oriented app development & delivery in Kubernetes. While you're at it, be sure to listen to last week's Azure Podcast, which featured Kubernetes co-founder Brendan Burns. 

Now generally available

Azure M/B/V3-series VMs are now generally available in UK – Azure M/V3/B-series of VM sizes are now available in the UK South region. M-series is perfectly suited for your large in-memory database workloads like SQL Server with the In-Memory OLTP functionality and other contenders in this space. Dv3 and Ev3 VMs are some of the first VMs to enable nested virtualization and Hyper-V containers. B-series VMs provide the lowest cost option for customers with flexible vCPU requirements.

Azure #CosmosDB Graph API now generally available – In December, Azure Cosmos DB Graph API became generally available. This release includes several critical updates to the performance and latency, as well as expanding the application platforms that can be used with it. This post also provides a recap of the features included in the December release.

Headlines & updates

Bing Speech API extends its text to speech support to 34 languages – The Speech API, a Microsoft Cognitive Service, now offers six new text to speech (TTS) languages to all developers, bringing the total number of available languages to 34: Bulgarian, Croatian, Malaysian, Slovenian, Tamil, and Vietnamese.

Brand Detection in Microsoft Video Indexer – Microsoft Video Indexer now includes Brand Detection from speech and from visual text. Brand Detection in the video index gives you insights on names of products and organizations, which appear in a video or audio asset without having to watch it and enables you to search for brands over large amounts of video and audio.

Azure Search service upgrades: New hardware, unlimited document counts, and more! – Upgrades were made to Azure Search service performance for all newly provisioned services in all paid service tiers. For the exact same price, these upgraded Azure Search services have roughly double the compute power of the previous hardware configuration that backed Azure Search and unlimited document counts. Standard tier services also began using SSD storage instead of HDD storage.

Microsoft Azure IP Advantage: Our first year – Learn how Azure IP Advantage provides customers with uncapped indemnification for Microsoft cloud services, including for the open source components that power these services. Eligible customers also have access to 10,000 Microsoft patents to deter and defend their own applications running on Azure against patent lawsuits by operating companies.

First System Center Semi-Annual Channel release now available – System Center includes Azure security & management capabilities for enhanced on-premises management and for the management of Azure resources. For example, you can use Service Manager integration with Azure to set up rules for automatically creating incidents for alerts fired on Azure and non-Azure resources.

Technical articles

Build email notifications for SQL Database Automatic tuning recommendations – Use the techniques outlined in this post to build your own custom email notifications for SQL Database Automatic tuning recommendations using a PowerShell script to retrieve tuning recommendations and Azure Automation to run it.

Go serverless for your IoT needs – Take a look at a few IoT scenarios in which the combination of Azure IoT Hub, Azure Event Grid, and Azure Functions provide a potent solution to your IoT needs, such as processing incoming device data in real time and custom processing on IoT Edge.

OMS Monitoring solution for Azure Backup using Azure Log analytics – See how you can now use the same workflow that generates Azure Backup reports in Power BI to build your own Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) monitoring solution for Azure Backup in the upgraded OMS workspace.

Custom Speech: Code-free automated machine learning for speech recognition – Learn how you can use the Custom Speech Service to automatically tune speech recognition models to your specific needs. You can use textual data like words and sentences of the target domain to build language models which can then be deployed and accessed by any devices through our Speech API. As an example, the Presentation Translator PowerPoint add-in customizes the language model based on slide content.

Developer Spotlight: Serverless

Create a function in Azure that is triggered by a timer – Learn how to use Azure Functions to create a serverless function that runs based a schedule that you define.

Internet of Things Show | Serverless and Internet of Things – The IoT Show welcomes Bahram Banisadr from the Azure Events Grid team to discuss Serverless in IoT and demo how simple it is to put together an MXCHip DevKit device, IoT Hub, a Function and Cognitive Services to create a portable translator.

Serverless Twitter Analytics with CosmosDB and Logic Apps – Jeremy Likness extends the serverless custom link-shortening solution he built to analyze more of the available data. Thanks to the schemaless nature of Azure Cosmos DB, he's able to add new properties as an afterthought.

Implementing a simple Azure Function with a Xamarin.Forms client – This article and sample by Laurent Bugnion will show you how to implement a very simple Azure Function in the Azure Web Portal or in Visual Studio at first, and build a cross-platform client with Xamarin.Forms, running on Android, iOS and Windows.

Azure Functions | Work with Azure Functions Proxies – This article explains how to configure and work with Azure Functions Proxies, which you can use to specify endpoints on your function app that are implemented by another resource. Use these proxies to break a large API into multiple function apps (as in a microservice architecture), while still presenting a single API surface for clients.

Service updates

Azure shows

Durable Functions now available – Corey Sanders, Director of Program Management on the Microsoft Azure Compute team sat down with Azure Functions / Azure Logic Apps PM Jeff Hollan to see what's new with durable functions.

Container-native developer experiences, Part 1 – Overview – Learn about the open source tool chain that enables container-native, microservice-oriented app development and delivery in Kubernetes. They cover the challenges of adopting containers as a code delivery technology and some of the tools that help address them: Draft, Helm, and Brigade.

Container-native developer experiences, Part 2 – Draft – Learn how to use Draft to kickstart container-native development for Kubernetes applications. Draft lets you concentrate on your service code by removing the containment and service composition from most development work, which increases the speed of service development and improves the consistency of Dockerfiles & Helm charts.

Container-native developer experiences, Part 3 – Brigade – Learn about Brigade, the Kubernetes-native service that creates structured container pipelines from JavaScript functions, letting you "script" your cluster in reaction to events. You'll also learn about Kashti, the web dashboard that shows you the status of all your Brigade projects.

Cloud Tech 10 – 5th February 2018 – Event Grid, Jenkins, Ansible and more! – Mark Whitby, a Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft UK, covers what's happening with Microsoft Azure in just 10 minutes, or less!

The Azure Podcast: Episode 215 – Kubernetes Innovations – The guys have an amazing talk with Brendan Burns, Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft, about the future of Kubernetes in Azure.

Source: Azure Blog Feed

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