October 19, 2022
Welcome to the nineteenth edition of the Azure World Newsletter in 2022.
First, I’m sorry I didn’t send a newsletter two weeks ago. I was traveling during that time, and I decided to wait until after Ignite when there would be much more relevant news to talk about.
Speaking of Microsoft Ignite, it was last week. I’ll be covering a couple of interesting announcements in this newsletter. I believe the session videos are still available for viewing, so head to the Ignite website and watch some of the videos that interest you after the fact.
Microsoft publishes a Book of News that encapsulates all of the announcements in one (long) document.
Also, this is a reminder that I’ll be on a panel to discuss the event on October 20 (very soon!). I’ll include a link to that here:
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One of the first things I saw in the Book of News (because it’s the first thing listed) is the Microsoft OpenAI Service which is in a limited preview on Azure.
OpenAI is a research and development company working on Artificial General intelligence. General AI is the field of research that eventually led to SkyNet in the Terminator movies. Oh wait, we’re not supposed to say that. I mean, General AI is the field of research where a computer can understand or learn any intellectual task that a human being can. It’s very difficult to achieve and is seen by some as the holy grail of AI.
The first big demo from the OpenAI team was called GPT-3. GPT-3 is already being used to write company blog posts, given a small amount of prompting. You give it a topic, guide it along, and it can write a pretty good (not perfect) blog post for you based on research it does on the Web.
This newsletter is not yet written by GPT-3, but maybe in a few years, half of what we read on the Internet will be written mainly by AI. I will not be surprised.
GPT-3 also powers the GitHub Copilot feature, which significantly cuts down the amount of time it takes to write programming code by doing some of that work for you. Somebody at Microsoft said that 20% of code is written with the help of AI today, and within a couple of years, they expect 70% of code written will be assisted by AI!
The second big demo from the OpenAI team is called DALL-E 2.
You may have seen these demos on Twitter over the last few months, where somebody asks a computer to generate a picture of “a monkey riding a unicorn while eating an ice cream cone”, and DALL-E 2 can come up with a pretty good original picture of that.
I don’t know how it works, but I want to play with DALL-E 2. If I wished, I could sign up for the private preview and play with the OpenAI Service.
DALL-E 2 is also built into the new Microsoft Designer. So my monkey-riding unicorn picture could be generated with Microsoft’s new “Canva” killer. Hopefully, I’ll get into the beta for that and generate wacky images in no time.
Learn about Microsoft OpenAI Service here:
There is more I would love to cover in the AI space in terms of announcements. That will have to wait for a future newsletter.
Now I will skip forward to the data space. One exciting announcement in this space is that Azure Cosmos DB now has distributed PostgreSQL support.
Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that PostgreSQL is the first major compatibility API added to Cosmos DB since it was first introduced five years ago. And brings a “relational database” model on top of Cosmos DB. Which includes relational DB elements such as tables, primary keys, foreign keys, and database integrity checking.
Your apps can now work with both relational and non-relational (NoSQL) data using the same familiar Cosmos DB SDK.
Cosmos DB currently supports API compatability with MongoDB, Gremlin, Cassandra, Azure Table Storage and etcd. And now PostgreSQL as well.
Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL is a managed service for PostgreSQL extended with the Hyperscale (Citus) open-source concept of distributed tables.
You can start building your apps on a single node cluster, as you would with PostgreSQL, and then scale your app up to work with multiple nodes by transparently distributing your tables.
You can read more about Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL here:
There are many more announcements I could cover, but I’ll do that in the next couple of newsletters.
AZURE PLATFORM UPDATES.
Since I missed the last newsletter, we have to look back four weeks with these updates. Of course, with Microsoft Ignite, there are a lot of announcements. As well, a large number of services are being retired and I grouped them together.
- The following announcements were made in the last four weeks:
- Immutable storage for Azure Data Lake, in GA
- Improved append capability for immutable storage for Blob Storage, in GA
- Improvements to Azure Web Application Firewall (WAF) custom rules, in GA
- Encryption scopes on hierarchical namespace enabled storage accounts, in preview
- Customer initiated storage account conversion from non-zonal redundancy to zonal redundancy via Azure Portal, in preview
- Billing has started for Azure Monitor Logs data archive on September 1, 2022
- Automatic backup and restore is in preview for App Service Environment V2 and V3
- Backup and restore updates for App Service, in GA
- Policy analytics for Azure Firewall, in preview
- Smart tiering to vault-archive tier for Azure Backup, in GA
- Azure Firewall Basic, in preview
- Dapr secrets API support, in GA
- Azure Container Apps Azure Monitor integration, in preview
- Azure Elastic SAN, in preview
- Azure Automanage for Azure Virtual Machines and Arc-enabled servers, in GA
- Azure Hybrid Benefit for AKS and Azure Stack HCI, in GA
- IP Protection SKU for Azure DDoS Protection, in preview
- Event Grid integration with AKS, in GA
- 5,000 node scale in AKS, in GA
- Windows server 2022 host support in AKS, in GA
- ARM64 support in AKS, in GA
- AMD-based confidential VMs for Azure Kubernetes Service, in GA
- Confidential VM option for Azure Virtual Desktop, in preview
- Confidential VM option for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines, in GA
- New Azure Virtual Machine Scale Set and Spot Virtual Machines capabilities, in preview
- ExpressRoute Traffic Collector, in preview
- Azure Resource Topology, in preview
- Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL, in GA
- Azure Advisor score across all Azure regions, in GA
- 16MB limit per document in Azure Cosmos DB for MongoDB, in GA
- Control the minimum TLS version used with Azure Service Bus, in GA
- Service Bus Explorer for the Azure portal, in GA
- Microsoft Azure Deployment Environments, in preview
- Static IP configurations of private endpoints, in GA
- Windows Admin Center for Azure Virtual Machines, in GA
- Immutable vaults for Azure Backup, in preview
- Multi-user authorization for Backup vaults, in preview
- Enhanced soft delete for Azure Backup, in preview
- Exactly once delivery for Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2, in preview
- Zone-redundant storage support by Azure Backup, in GA
- Important retirement or migration announcements:
- AKS Deployment Center setting to be retired 31 March 2023, use automated deployments instead
- VM Continuous Delivery setting to be retired 31 March 2023, use automated deployments instead
- Support for PostgreSQL version 11 ends 9 November 2024
- Azure unmanaged disks for VM disks will be retired on 30 September 2025
- Migrate to conversational language understanding before Language Understanding (LUIS) is retired on 1 October 2025
- Upgrade your Azure Cache for Redis instances to use Redis version 6 by 30 June 2023
- App Service support for Ruby is ending 12 April 2023
- Azure Basic Load Balancer will be retired on 30 September 2025—upgrade to Standard Load Balancer
- Azure Batch TLS 1.0/1.1 will be retired on 31 March 2023
- Support for Azure API Management self-hosted gateway version 0 and version 1 ends 1 October 2023
- Azure Static Web Apps support for Node 12 ends on 3 December 2022
- Azure Batch Low Priority VMs will be retired on 30 September 2025
- Azure Percept DK and support from associated Azure services will be retired on March 30th, 2023
- Upgrade to Standard SKU public IP addresses in Azure by 30 September 2025—Basic SKU will be retired
- Azure classic resource providers will be retired on 31 August 2024
- Desired state configuration VM Extension for Linux, and Azure Automation DSC support for Linux, will be retired on 30 September 2023
- Azure Static Web Apps extended support for .NET Core 3.1 ends on 3 December 2022
- Azure Batch Certificates will be retired on 29 February 2024
- Integration Services Environment will be retired on 31 August 2024 – transition to Logic Apps Standard
- Azure Functions support for Node 12 is ending on 13 December 2022
Check out the Azure Updates page if any of these affect you.
COMING UP FOR ME.
I mentioned the Microsoft Ignite Recap panel I am on at the beginning of the newsletter with some other folks. So tune in if that interests you.
I’m recording. I’m writing. I’m making plans for the rest of the year and 2023. Lots going on. Nothing to announce just yet.
WHERE TO FIND ME.
And that’s it for issue 3.19. Thanks for reading this far. Talk to you again in two weeks.
What is your favorite platform to be on? Perhaps we can connect there.
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