Azure News 2016 – Week 47

More Azure News, been quite busy this week, myself and the Azure team. Lots of new things released and some events. Also in case you missed it, here is Satya Nadella’s keynote he did at the Microsoft Developer Event in Sydney on Wednesday November 16, 2016:

Azure Documentation

You might remember back in June we talked about the new Microsoft documentation site was currently in preview Just recently Microsoft have moved all of the Azure documentation to this new platform and it is all live.

The popular documentation websites TechNet and MSDN are both about 15 years old.

Improvements include:

  • Readability
  • Estimated Read Time
  • Content & Site Navigation
  • Shortened Article Length
  • Responsive Design
  • Community Contributions
  • Social Sharing
  • Friendly URLs
  • Website theming

Azure Functions GA’d

Azure Functions has just been made generally available. Azure Functions replaces the Classic ASM worker roles and web roles. Azure Functions runs in Azure Resource Manager and runs as PaaS. The benefit being is that you only pay for exactly what you use and no more, which was the case with worker roles for example.

Azure Functions enables developers to configure ‘bindings’ to services with just a few clicks. Bindings can be set for services to trigger a function. For example, a binding configured for Azure Storage could trigger a function when a new file is uploaded.

Azure Functions is built in the open with the community on GitHub. The Functions team have actively engaged in customer discussions and feedback. Over 900 GitHub issues were raised and addressed helping the team deliver a high quality, production-ready service.

More information:

Azure Bot Service

At the Microsoft Developers conference last Wednesday November 16, 2016 Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella said that he wants bots and AI (Artificial Intelligence) in every home. This is similar to back in 1980 when Bill Gates said that he wants a computer on every desk and in every home.

Microsoft Azure has Announced the Industry’s First Cloud Bot-As-A-Service. It’s called Azure Bot Service which is a new service built using the Microsoft Bot Framework and new Azure Functions. With this cloud service, you can build, connect, deploy and manage intelligent bots that interact naturally wherever your users are talking.

Simply plug in Microsoft Cognitive Services to enable your bots to see, hear, interpret and interact in more human ways.

The Azure Bot Service uses an Azure Resource Manager (ARM) template to create an Azure Functions App for easy deployment and automatically registers your bot in the Microsoft Bot Framework, which provides a public bot directory to increase the exposure of your bot.

More information:

Microsoft’s ambition to democratise artificial intelligence

OpenAI is a nonprofit AI research organisation co-founded by Elon Musk and others.

Microsoft AI and Research Group have announced a new partnership with OpenAI focused on making significant contributions to advance the field of AI. OpenAI chose Microsoft due to:

  • their deep learning research
  • ongoing commitment to AI
  • Azure’s support for open source technologies
  • Azures unique combination of high performance computing e.g. the N-Series of Azure VMs designed for the most intensive compute workloads
  • Azure big data and intelligence capabilities such as Azure Batch, Azure Machine Learning and the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (formerly CNTK)

More information:

PowerShell Anniversary

On Monday, November 14th PowerShell turned 10 years old. To celebrate, the PowerShell team hosted a day-long event covering all things PowerShell itself, PowerShell and SQL, PowerShell and Azure Automation, the future directions for PowerShell and so much more. It’s all online to see on the Channel 9 site. Jeffrey Snover, Ed Wilson ‘the scripting guy’ and Kenneth Hansen (Lead Principal Program Manager for PowerShell) can all be seen.

More information:

Microsoft’s Connect 2016

Microsoft’s Connect conference ran again this year from November 16 to November 18 – three full days from New York. It is where Microsoft have made big announcements in the past like the open sourcing of .NET, open source of VS Code, introduction of the VS Community Edition and more. There were keynotes and deep dive technical sessions led by Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie, Principal Program Manager Scott Hanselman and other industry innovators. Sessions covering Data & Intelligent Apps, Mobile Development with the Xamarin team and Application Lifecycle Management & DevOps.

More information:

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