February 22, 2023
Welcome to the fourth edition of the Azure World Newsletter in 2023.
It’s been relatively quiet in the Azure world. I think Microsoft’s attention has been taken by the launch of the Bing search engine integration with GPT search results. It’s still in limited testing, but it’s already generated a lot of buzz. Not all of it was good.
I think fundamentally that people don’t understand how large language models chatbots work. Journalists are shocked (shocked!) that they were able to get Bing Chat to say some scary things. I contend that Bing Chat doesn’t really “know” what it’s saying. It’s basically predicting the correct response to any prompt (and includes the chat history for context).
If Bing Chat says, “I wish you go bankrupt,” it doesn’t really want you to go bankrupt. It’s just a logical response based on the history of the conversation. But yes, the optics are bad for sure.
Microsoft has changed Bing Chat by cutting a long conversation short to avoid these undesirable outcomes. Hopefully, that’s the end of that.
Anyways, not much is happening on the Azure platform these days. But I did find a couple of things, which we’ll talk about below.
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This past November, Microsoft added a feature to Azure Functions for .NET that allows you to run them as an isolated worker process.
An isolated worker process, which is well-named, is a worker process separate from the process that runs the Function host.
When Functions were first introduced, it only supported “integrated mode” for .NET Functions. That is, your Function code runs in the same process/context as the Function App, and that makes several things easier, such as binding APIs.
But now with Azure Functions in .NET isolated worker processes, you can actually use a different (more recent) version of .NET than the Function App natively supports.
For instance, if you want to use .NET 7.0 in your Function but Azure only supports .NET 6.0 with Functions, you can with isolated worker processes!
Support for .NET Isolated Worker Processes is now available in Durable Functions.
A couple of years ago, Azure was focused on containers on their platform. They added containers to everything, cumulating in the recent launch of Azure Container Apps.
Kubernetes (AKS) is still the star of the show, however. Recently, Azure launched a new feature for AKS to make it easier to schedule Kubernetes version updates during planned maintenance windows. They are calling this Update Scheduler.
If you are always running on the stable release channel for Kubernetes (or rapid), you can enable auto-update to always keep your version up to the latest release. It works on the patch channel as well.
Update Scheduler will first update the control plane and then update the nodes. This ensures you are always running on the latest version of Kubernetes. It’s a “set it and forget it” way of keeping your systems up-to-date.
If you currently use the planned maintenance preview feature, you are encouraged to use the upgrade scheduler feature instead.
AZURE PLATFORM UPDATES.
Not too much has happened in February if I’m being honest. The following announcements were made in the last two weeks:
- Upgrade scheduler for AKS in public preview
- Python 3.10 support for Web Apps and Functions
- Improved geo-replication for Azure Cache for Redis
- VBS enclaves for Always Encrypted in Azure SQL Database, in public preview
- Azure Communication Services Chat for Bot Framework, in public preview
- Durable Functions support for .NET isolated model
- Azure Functions Linux Elastic Premium plan increased maximum scale-out limits
Be sure and check out the Azure Updates page if any of these affect you.
COMING UP FOR ME.
I’m happy to announce that I’ve got a new ChatGPT course coming out. I’m just putting the final touches on it before hitting the publish button later today.
I’ll include the details in the next newsletter. Unfortunately, the course isn’t live yet at the time you are reading this. So I will save the links and coupon until two weeks from now.
I expect to dive more into Azure Open AI Services in the near future, so you should expect to hear more from me on that.
WHERE TO FIND ME.
And that’s it for issue 4.04. 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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