Azure World Newsletter – Issue 2.10

June 2, 2021

Welcome to the tenth edition of the Azure World Newsletter in 2021. 

Microsoft Build was last week! Did any of the announcements or presentations excite you? I found the announcement of “Windows Package Manager” (winget) interesting, as it finally brings package manager concepts from other systems (npm, pip, and nuget) into Windows as a whole. 

Here is the Microsoft Build 2021 Book of News, which is a good summary of all of the announcements made: 

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In the last newsletter, I mentioned that Microsoft was shutting down its Blockchain Service relatively soon. Well, now we see why. Azure has introduced a new service called Azure Confidential Ledger which uses blockchain technology.

It’s being advertised as Tamperproof unstructured data. The Confidential Ledger data store is hosted in trusted execution environments (TEE) and cryptographically hashed to verify its authenticity.

So in a way, it takes the “tamperproof” benefits of the blockchain but reimagines it as a data storage type in Azure. So you can store something in a database, in a blob, or in a blockchain-backed ledger depending on your security needs.

We’re already seeing the first uses of the Confidential Ledger in one of Azure’s own database products – SQL Database Ledger.

SQL Database Ledger introduces the idea of tamper-proof transactions inside of the traditional database. You can create ledger tables that are “updateable” or “append-only” inside your existing databases. You don’t need to migrate your database or set up a new one to enable this. 

The idea is that you can detect if data has been edited and restore it back to its original value. Each transaction is cryptographically hashed and stored in a blockchain-type structure – which could be the Confidential Ledger or Azure Immutable Blob storage.


Microsoft Build was last week, and one of the announcements was around the expansion of the free and low-cost database services.

Cosmos DB has an expanded free tier, with 1000 RU/s of provisioned throughput (up from 400 RU/s before). It also offers 25 GB of data storage for free now too.

Azure Database for PostgreSQL and Azure Database for MySQL also got into the mix, with a free 12-month offer. This provides developers up to 750 hours per month free for the first 12 months. (750 hours is all of the hours in a month, so I don’t know why they say it like that.)  

Azure Database for PostgreSQL – Hyperscale (Citus) basic tier is even available now for a low-cost introduction for Hyperscale on a single node.

Alongside this announcement, Microsoft is placing all of the Azure Cognitive Services and related AI services into a new category on their site called “Applied AI Services”.  Applied AI services include Azure Bot Services, Azure Cognitive Search, Azure Form Recognizer, Azure Metrics Advisor, and Azure Immersive Reader.


We’ve been making improvements to my course called AI-102 Exam: Designing and Implementing a Microsoft Azure AI Solution.

You’ll now find a PDF study guide, PDF API reference, and quiz questions inside the course to help you pass this exam.

If implementing Azure Cognitive Services (now all under Applied AI Services) interests you, and you’re considering the AI-102 exam, please check it out.

The focus of this course is Python because that’s the most common language in the world of machine learning and AI. We’re adding C# examples too this week.


There were a lot of announcements due to Microsoft Build. The following platform updates happened in the past two weeks: 

  • Azure ExpressRoute – 5 new peering locations available
  • Azure Stack HCI now gives a 60-day free trial
  • Deploy Azure Web Apps to Kubernetes Clusters with Azure Arc (in preview)
  • Expanded Cosmos DB Free tier
  • New Azure Database for PostgreSQL and Azure Database for MySQL free tier offer
  • Cosmos DB Serverless now in general availability
  • Cosmos DB has a Linux emulator for developing and testing locally (in preview)
  • Cosmos DB in-memory cache in preview
  • Cosmos DB RBAC in general availability
  • Always Encrypted for Cosmos DB in preview
  • Encryption at host support in AKS in general availability
  • App Service Managed Certificates now generally available
  • Logic Apps is now a containerized runtime, which can be hosted on top of Functions, App Service Plans, Kubernetes, Docker, or any cloud
  • New Logic Apps features including stateless workflows, and a new designer UI
  • Azure Confidential Ledger in preview
  • IBM WebSphere Application Server on Azure Virtual Machines
  • Red Hat JBoss EAP for Azure Virtual Machines
  • Cosmos DB Partial document update (path-level) in private preview
  • Azure SQL Database Ledger in preview
  • Event Hubs Premium in preview
  • Spot Virtual Machines on Databricks

Be sure and check out the Azure Updates page if any of these affect you.


I’ve been heads down, recording my next course on the SC-900 course. I also have a few surprises planned for the month.


And that’s it for issue 2.10. Thanks for reading this far.

What is your favorite platform to be on? Perhaps we can connect there.

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