December 1, 2021
Welcome to the twenty-second edition of the Azure World Newsletter in 2021.
This is the last Azure World newsletter of the year. When I started writing these two years ago, my only intention was to get in regular communication with you, by providing you the major news from Azure over the past couple of weeks. In this time, the newsletter has now grown to over 20,000 subscribers including you. I am genuinely grateful that thousands of you read this every two weeks and I hope to continue to serve you in 2022.
In 2022, I will be writing these newsletters from a new geographical location. I am moving from my current home in Toronto, Canada to my new home in Lisbon, Portugal. This is a new adventure for me and my family. Nothing should change for you as a newsletter reader or student. However, support might be delayed over the holiday period.
The unsubscribe link is at the bottom if you want to stop receiving these emails.
Microsoft focuses on improved service resilience in 2022.
There have been a few service outages in the past year, and certainly, this is one of the big challenges Azure faces in the coming years to keep its uptime promises to its customers. What’s the point of moving to the cloud when the entire operation can go down for an entire day and there’s nothing you can do about that?
So Microsoft is working harder to ensure its key services operate without interruption. They recently increased the Service Level Agreement guarantee for Azure Active Directory (AAD) from 99.9% to 99.99%.
In September 2020, and again in April 2021, Azure Active Directory suffered a multi-hour outage after a bad deployment on their side. This left applications that rely on AAD being unable to log in including the Azure Portal, Teams, Exchange, and user apps that rely on it.
So having them double down on the availability of these services to hopefully prevent outages in the future is a smart step.
One of their strategies for backup is to have a cache of Azure authentications. This way, if AAD was to go down for any length of time, most users will still be able to log in using the cached copy of their credentials. Microsoft claims this will help in 93 percent of cases, making the outage less severe.
Azure CTO Mark Russinovich addressed this in a recent blog post.
Azure launches a fully-managed load testing service.
This makes perfect sense. It wasn’t too long ago when I was working on a big project that was expecting a huge amount of traffic around US Thanksgiving. We prepared the site for months for that big week. Not only adding some more servers, but doing proper load testing and finding out where the bottlenecks of the application were and fixing them.
Load Testing is critical, and having an official Azure Load Testing product is overdue.
Sure, Visual Studio Team System had some built-in testing features, but you really need to spin up a lot of external servers to really drive traffic to your site in an authentic way. Not just one machine simulating hundreds of users.
Azure DevOps also had some load testing features, but that had been deprecated earlier this year. Now we know what they planned to do as a replacement.
“Azure Load Testing is a fully-managed Azure service that allows developers and testers to generate high-scale load with custom Apache JMeter scripts”, says the announcement.
If you have an application that has the potential to have to scale quickly, it’s in your best interests to do some load testing. You’ll reveal things that you didn’t know. And some of the mitigations are quite easy to implement, such as web caching and CDN.
For instance, for that project a few years ago, we fixed a lot of code bugs, cached a lot, disabled logins for that period, and got ourselves to the point where the hardware load balancer we were using was the bottleneck. When internet components outside your application become the bottleneck… that’s a whole new level of problems but at least it’s not your application or database.
AZURE PLATFORM UPDATES.
It’s been a quiet two weeks. Since Ignite was at the beginning of November, most of the announcements have been made and now it’s time for Microsoft to implement
The following announcements were made in the last two weeks:
- Some VPN Gateway SKUs can now support up to 100 S2S/Vnet-to-Vnet connections, up from 30
- New planned data center region in Belgium called Belgium Central (p.s. I love Belgium)
- Azure Scheduler will be retired on 31 January 2022
- OpenID Connect authentication now supported for App Service and Azure Functions
- Application Gateway now supports wildcard characters for multi-site listeners
- VPN Gateway NAT now general availability
Be sure and check out the Azure Updates page if any of these affect you.
COMING UP FOR ME.
That’s it for the Azure World newsletter for 2021.
I want to thank you so much for signing up for this, and I wish you and your family a happy, safe, and peaceful end of the year.
WHERE TO FIND ME.
And that’s it for issue 2.22. Thanks for reading this far.
What is your favorite platform to be on? Perhaps we can connect there.
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