This week, Microsoft’s yearly Ignite Conference took place in Orlando, Florida. Ignite focuses mostly on cloud topics and is beside Microsoft Build the second biggest Microsoft IT conference of the year. Here are my developer centric highlights summarized!

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Compute

Azure Functions: Runtime 2.0 Released

Official Announcement

The improved Azure Functions runtime v2 is now Generally Available. This not only brings significant performance improvements (twice the performance of the previous version), but also allows Functions to be written in more languages and hosted also locally on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Azure Functions: Application Insights Map integration

Official Announcement

Expanded integration with Azure Application Insights to give more visibility into distributed tracing. Dependencies are automatically tracked, and cross-resource connections are automatically correlated across a variety of services, with more coming soon. All of these are visualized in the Application map, allowing you to understand how components interact and drill into individual executions to diagnose issues.

Azure Functions: Consumption Plan for Linux based Functions Preview

Official Announcement

Azure Functions will now support consumption plan for deploying to Linux. Previously deploying to Linux was only supported while running under App Service Plan. Consumption plans only charges you for the actual execution time of your Functions.

Azure Functions: Python Support Preview

Official Announcement

Azure Functions now supports Python development using Python 3.6. You can now use your Python code and dependencies on Linux-based Functions or build and publish a Docker container.

Azure Functions: Key Vault integration Preview

Azure Key Vault integration with Functions enables customers to build more secure applications out of the box, as they don’t have to store any keys, passwords or secrets on the app settings. These app settings will be backed by Key Vault, and Functions can seamlessly connect to it to retrieve those values.

Azure App Service: Java SE and Tomcat Support

Official Announcement

You can now run your Tomcat and Java SE Applications on fully managed Azure App Services on Linux offerings. Additionally, Microsoft announced a strategic partnership with Azul to bring Zulu SDK (a fully compatible and compliant commercial build of Java SE) for free to avoid unplanned Java SE subscription fees, that have been newly introduced by Oracle.

Azure App Service: Bring your own storage on Linux Preview

Official Announcement

App Service now supports the ability for customers to bring additional storage accounts to their Linux web apps. Available in public preview now, this feature supports Azure Blob storage and Azure File storage. Users can configure up to 5 storage accounts and you can size based on Azure storage account size limit. The storage accounts are mounted as Docker bind mounts and available to the container which hosts your web applications.

Azure Container Registry: Public preview of Helm Chart Repositories and Tasks

Official Announcement

Microsoft adds native Helm repository support and validation workflows, with Azure Container Registry Tasks and Docker’s content trust, to provide a more integrated container lifecycle management experience.

Service Fabric Mesh: Auto-Scaling Preview

Official Announcement

With Service Fabric Mesh, which is a fully managed offering of Service Fabric, you can now automatically scale, simply by specifying your CPU and memory thresholds in the application model. No need to think about the right number of instances anymore, as Service Fabric Mesh will handle that for you.

Networking

Azure API Management: New Consumption Pricing Tier

There will be a new Pricing Tier ratgeting microservice-based architectures soon at API Management with Instant provisioning, Automated scaling (out and back to zero) and per action pricing. On the flip side, there will be no developer portal and you will have to bring your own cache at this tier.

Azure CDN: New Standard Microsoft Tier

Official Announcement

Using Azure CDN’s multi-CDN platform you can use CDN services from Verizon, Akamai and now Microsoft all in one place. Azure CDN Standard Microsoft makes Microsoft’s own global Edge and CDN network available to you.  Now with 62 locations in 57 countries with 16 regional caches strategically placed on Microsoft’s global network, Azure CDN Standard Microsoft enables more consistent, more predictable cache fill performance by providing direct access to your content in Azure from each CDN edge location.

Azure DNS: DNS Alias and A/AAAA Records in Traffic Manager

Official Documentation

This lets you map your DNS records to an Azure Traffic Manager profile or a Public IP resource such that your DNS zone tracks changes to the IPs associated with those resources. In addition, mapping your zone apex record (root of the zone, for example: contoso.com) to an Azure Traffic Manager profile will allow you to host a DNS load balanced application at the zone apex.

Azure SignalR Service: Now generally available

Official Announcement

The SignalR Service has been in public preview since May, and now hets available in most Azure Data Centers. the Azure SignalR Service, a fully managed SignalR offering that enables you to focus on building real-time web experiences without worrying about setting up, hosting, scaling, or load balancing your SignalR server.

Databases

Cosmos DB: Multi-Master Write Support GA

Multi-master support for Azure Cosmos DB is now available in all public regions. Elastically scale writes (in addition to reads) all around the world, across any number of Azure regions for any API that the service supports. With multi-master, Azure Cosmos DB delivers a SLA-backed single digit millisecond write latency anywhere in the world.

Cosmos DB: Announcing Reserved capacities and lower entry models

Official Announcement

Azure Cosmos DB reserved capacity helps you save when you pre-pay for one-year or three-years. With Azure Cosmos DB reserved capacity, get a discount on the resources used and reduce your costs by up to 65 percent vs. pay-as-you-go prices. Entry pricing point for the full database RUs have been lowered to a min of 10k RUs per database.

Maria DB: Announcing Azure Database for MariaDB Preview

Official Announcement

The Azure Database for MariaDB service offers enterprise-ready, fully managed community MariaDB featuring open-source compatibility, built-in high availability and dynamic scaling, and flexible pricing. The MariaDB community edition helps users easily lift and shift to the cloud, using languages and frameworks of their choice.

AI and Machine Learning

Cognitive Services: Speech Services GA

Official Announcement

The Cognitive Speach Services are finally replacing Bing Speech. With Cognitive Speech Services, you can use Speech to text, Text to speech, Speech Translation, Ability to customize across all these capabilities. Together with a new JavaScript SDK and updated pricing, they are now live and SLA backed.

Azure Bot Service: Release of Azure Bot Framework 4.0

Official Announcement

Microsoft Bot Framework v4 SDK is now available, providing a highly modular and extensible architecture, enabling developers to pick specific components that come with the SDK. The new SDK supports more languages (such as .NET Core), has increased performance, and is more extensible and modular.

DevOps

Azure DevOps: Azure Policy CI/CD features Preview

Official Announcement

Currently, compliance in the CI/CD pipeline is done as a manual process. There are a set of approval procedures and developers don’t have a clear view of what is compliant and what is not. Azure Policy helps reduce the number of approval processes by checking compliance while coding.

Azure DevOps: GitHub CI Integration of Azure Pipelines

Official Announcement

Azure Pipelines is now available in GitHub Marketplace. With this new integration, you can easily configure a CI/CD pipeline for any Azure application using your preferred language and framework as part of your GitHub workflow in just a few simple steps.

Visual Studio App Center: Intune MAM App Protection Policies Preview

Official Announcement

App Center starts supporting the Intune MAM Wrapper for line of business apps. Admins and security persons can now turn on data protection with organization-wide policies, which also benefits app developers as they can release MAM-ware apps to the Intune store. After publishing the application to Intune, the admin can apply company-required policies via the Intune blade in the Azure portal.

What else?

Announcing Microsoft Learn

Official Announcement

New learning platform launched with more than 80 hours of learning content for Azure, Dynamics 365, PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, and Power BI. Among that content, you’ll find in-browser experiences that will help get you ready for new certification exams for developers, administrators, and solution architects.

Logic Apps: Visual Studio Code Extension Preview

Marketplace

Logic Apps now have their own Visual Studio Code Extension, which makes it easier to quickly create, debug, and manage Azure Logic Apps and Integration Accounts right from the Editor.

Announcing the Open Data Initiative

Official Announcement

Adobe, Microsoft, and SAP are partnering on the Open Data Initiative to enable data to be exchanged—and enriched—across systems, making it a renewable resource that flows into intelligent applications. With a single, comprehensive view of data, you’ll discover in real-time more about your customers, identify ways to maximize operations, and find new ways to provide the amazing experiences that your customers deserve.

Azure Blueprints Preview

Official Link

Blueprints enabling quick, repeatable creation of fully governed environments. They are templates for Subscriptions with all resources, policies and user access set up. Once created, they can be used to create multiple subscriptions with all the company policies already in place.

During the conference, there have been a lot of smaller and bigger announcements across all sections of Microsoft. As this is just a selection what has been most important for me as an App Developer, you should also check out the full list of announcements and pick your highlights.

Also, make sure to watch and review recorded sessions and published content from the conference for diving deeper into all these topics.

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Robin-Manuel Thiel

At daylight, Robin-Manuel talks about new IT trends and development. But at night he turns into a tinker and developer which sometimes leads to insufficient sleep. He loves cool technologies, cross-platform and everything with a power-plug or IP address.

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