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Azure Updates:  Microsoft Build 2019

Microsoft Build is the yearly developer conference aimed towards the customers using Windows, Windows Phones, Microsoft Azure and the other various technologies developed by Microsoft. Here Microsoft announces the new developments, features, and updates in their different products.

Microsoft Build 2019 announces 60+ new updates for Azure different services. In this blog, I am going to discuss some new features and updates available in Azure different products.

Very common update for all service is:

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Azure Deployment Manager (ADM) now Support Integrated Health Checks: To significantly improve the deployment capabilities Azure launches the Deployment Manager (ADM) with extra new features for Azure Resource Manager (ARM). Using Deployment Manager, we can deploy any complex service to several different regions, we can have more control over when we want to deploy or resources which are dependent on each other’s, and we can limit our customer’s exposure to unwanted updates by caching them while in progress. Azure Deployment Manager deploys the resources region by region in an ordered manner, this feature is called a staged rollout of resources.

Now this ADM supports integrated Health Checks. This means that Deployment Manager will integrate with your existing service Health Monitor while your Rollout proceeds, and allows you to normally prevent unwanted or harmful updates before reaching their impact on your customer. At this point, deployment will stop and you can start troubleshooting.

Some of the famous service health monitoring companies like Datadog, Site 24X7, and Wavefront provides a simple copy/paste solution to integrate with Azure Deployment Manager’s staged rollout feature.

Additionally, Azure Deployment Manager is now completely open to the public, means that there is now no need to sign-up.

Let’s proceed with the very popular product of Computing category that is Virtual Machines. Following are the new updates available:

  • BYOS images of Red Hat Enterprise Linux are now available: Bring-your-own-subscription images are now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) in Azure Marketplace with already existing Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) images.

The RHEL users who currently have ownerships for on-premises environments and would like to migrate to Azure without paying extra for PAYG images will now benefit with this. The BYOS images are fully supported and identical to the PAYG images, but are not connected to any source of updates. The BYOS images do not charge the RHEL billing premiums that the PAYG images have.

  • Shared Image Gallery is now generally available: With Shared Image Gallery, users can easily distribute and share their custom virtual machine images across Azure multiple regions, to different users, service principals, AD groups for fast scaling of deployments. Now this is generally available in Azure’s all public cloud regions. No extra charge for using this service, only you have to pay for storage charges for images and replicas and for Network egress charges.
  • Azure VMware Solutions is now generally available: The first product of this new category is Azure VMware Solution by CloudSimple, now generally available. Azure regions, US East and US West, are having this product. Azure VMware Solutions is used to migrate VMware-based environments to Azure without any changes. Microsoft delivered Azure VMware Solutions and are VMware Cloud Verified. Customer can manage their existing environment with the same VMware tools they already know, with modernizing their applications with Azure services.
  • Azure Quickstart Center enables new Azure customers to build cloud projects: The Azure Quickstart Center gives customers a self-trained guide to configuring their cloud projects. They can use this with any Azure products and speed up their project deployment. You can use the Setup Guide to configure different cloud environments, Start your Project with different available Azure Services and Products.
  • Updated Azure Serial Console with VMSS support and improved language support: Azure Serial Console is a troubleshooting tool for your VMs, in the situations where you cannot access your VMs. Now, with updated Serial Console, you can use this with Virtual Machine Scale Set (VMSS) instances also. You need to enable boot diagnostics on the VMSS group, to use this Serial Console to diagnose connectivity problems with VMSS instances. In addition, with this updated Serial Console, you can now troubleshoot VMs and VMSS instances connectivity issues in different languages also.

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Now, let us see the updates available with another Azure computing service which is App Service.

  • Virtual Network Integration for App Service Linux: There is very common request various customers of App Service on Linux to support Virtual Network Integration. Now using this new feature, Linux based web applications can access resources in virtual networks, service endpoint-secured entities, and on-premises locations through VPN options like ExpressRoute or site-to-site.
  • Permanent free tier offering for Linux-based applications on App Service: Web Applications running on Linux, now have an easy and free with Azure App Service. This new, free tier for Linux applications is forever free, meaning it will not expire after one month. It is an easy and economical way to R&D that host your Linux-based web apps on App Service before fully deploying in your environment.
  • App Service support for Java 11: Increasing the language support to the two latest Long Term Support versions of the Java runtime, App Service now supports Java 11. This update now allows customers to run their Java applications without paying unplanned Java Standard Edition subscription fees. They also get it all with free security patches and platform bug fixes. On both Linux and Windows versions of App Service, Java 11 support is provided and it is now available to the public.
  • Azure App Service new full-screen experience: A new, full-screen experience is offered in Azure App Service which simplifies the application creation and publishing workflow. This new experience guides users through making important decisions such as selecting OS, application stack or publishing model and also enables more compatible validation of user choices.

One more most important Azure Product is VNet i.e. Virtual Network. Let’s discuss the new updates available with Network related different Services.

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  • Azure Application Gateway Standard v2 and WAF v2 SKUs generally available: Azure Application Gateway is a web traffic load balancer which provides customers with layer 7 load balancing, security, and Web Application Firewall (WAF) functionality. Now, Azure Application Gateway Standard v2 and WAF v2 SKUs are available with a 99.95 SLA.

The v2 SKUs provides the following new features to Application Gateway and WAF:

  • Autoscaling provides elasticity to applications enabling them to scale up or down based on the application traffic pattern. This also eliminates the need to run Application Gateway at maximum provisioned capacity and thus it reduced the overall cost significantly.
  • Zone redundancy enables Zone Level Fault tolerance for your Application Gateway that offers better redundancy to your applications.
  • Static VIPs
  • Faster provisioning and Improved performance offers good application performance and also helps to reduce overall cost.
  • Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN)’s Rules Engine is now in preview: You can customize Content Delivery Network behavior on a per HTTP request basis using this Rules Engine. It will boost up delivery of your content to your end-users. In the preview mode, you will be able to:
  • To ensure that your content is always delivered through HTTPs, you can redirect URLs based on match conditions. To deliver the most relevant content to your users, you can redirect requests to specific origins also.
  • To ensure your content is cached and delivered based on the users who are requesting it, you can Overwrite caching settings based on match conditions.

The last but not the least in this blog, we are going to discuss the Azure Cost Management Updates. This is one of the most valuable services provided by Azure.

Whether you are a new user, or you are using Azure infrastructure for testing purpose or training and updating purpose, or you are working with a big/small organization as an Azure Cloud Administrator, it is very important to manage your cost of resources you are used on the cloud platform. You should know how much you are spending on each resource according to use time, you should also have an idea about the future cost for that resource, as according to that you have to manage that resource. No one wants to get a big surprise on getting the monthly bill displayed on the dashboard. And here, Azure Cost Management comes into the picture. Cost Management can help you better understand where you’re adding up costs in the cloud, identify and prevent extra cost spending services and regions, and get better solutions to cut down costs and allow you to do more with less.

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We are going to discuss the updates with Azure Cost Management, are as below:

  • Manage AWS and Azure costs together using Azure portal is in preview: Most of the companies are going with the multi-cloud or Hybrid-cloud approaches for getting more flexibility. But, where there is flexibility, complexity also increased. Regarding cost management also, different cloud providers have different billing cycles and cost models. So, it is a very big task to have a single multi-cloud cost management platform for providing different clouds monitoring, controlling and optimizing costs. And here, Azure Cost Management helps its customers.

With Azure Cost Management, we can manage AWS and Azure costs together by creating new AWS cloud connector. Using this AWS Connector, you can manage and monitor AWS cost by breaking down into services, regions or groups as per your requirements.

Cost Management Forecasting for Azure and AWS costs is in preview: With the Cost history, we can understand our organization trends about using resources, services, and applications. But you will not sure about the final costing, as the usage of resources can change time by time. So we need to plan for our future cost also. Here Forecasting for Azure and AWS helps us to get an approximate idea about the future cost and we can manage our resources by keeping eye on their usage. Starting from a single application in a resource group, to the entire subscription of Azure and higher-level management group of AWS, we can monitor forecast cost and avoid overload on the organization’s cloud budget.

  • Updating your Cost Analysis dashboard tiles: We already know that we can pin customized views of cost analysis to the Azure dashboard. But these pinned tiles were locked to the specific range only, means you could not get the current cost analysis on the dashboard. Now with a new update, this has been changed. Now, Cost analysis tiles maintain the built-in range selected by you in the date picker. For example, if you pin “This month”, you will get the running month’s cost analysis in the dashboard. If you pin “Last 3 months”, you will get a rolling view of the last 3 months. But if you select the specific date range, in that case, you will get a view of cost analysis for that exact date range only.
  • Monitor costs as per your pay-as-you-go billing period: Azure billed pay-as-you-go (PAYG) subscription based on the day user signed up for Azure. It does not map to calendar month which makes reporting and controlling costs for each bill little difficult. But, now we have tools to effectively manage costs for PAYG subscription. In PAYG subscription, with cost analysis, current billing period is default set. We can switch to different billing periods from there.

For getting the notification, when your bill reaches a specific amount, we can create a Budget for the billing month. We can track a yearly or quarterly budget also by billing period. We need this cost data to export and integrate with your own other services like storage to store it into your backup. For this Cost management work for you, by pushing data to your storage account daily, weekly, or monthly. And with this update, you can export your data as per your billing period instead of the calendar month.

  • The new YouTube channel for Cost Management: Learning new services using documentation, can take much time. Users required some quick and small videos to grasp the concept fast and get started. In the month of May, Azure released eight new Quickstart videos for Cost Management. And now, you can also subscribe to the new Azure Cost Management YouTube channel.

These are just only some of the big updates from the last month. Microsoft Azure always making constant improvements based on user feedback. Users can share their ideas and give suggestions to improve Azure experience. Azure always ready and welcome users’ feedback, so please keep using Azure and give feedbacks to Azure for improvements you required.

 

Author Name: Sumaiyya Suhail Bagwan
Department Name: Networking
Designation: Technical Trainer

summayya

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