Blue Monday: General Availability Blowout

The big news last week in Azure service updates was a wide release of preview / limited technologies into general availability.

Here’s what was rolled out to GA last week:

Logic Apps are kind of like a roll-your-own ifttt.com. There are connectors, and you build workflows around various events raised by those connectors. You can also wire up your own connectors via Web API.

Logic apps are now available everywhere except India, Canada and the US government dedicated data centers.

Azure Active Directory conditional access: You can require multi-factor authentication for certain tenant applications, or for certain security groups. These requirements can be applied only when a user is not on the company network (via trusted IP recognition). You can even block access to a tenant application if the user does not originate on a trusted / work IP.

These rules can be applied to federation, as well, via OAuth, SAML, OpenID or WS-Federation.

On a related note, Microsoft Authenticator is generally available. This app will replace the Azure Authenticator and the Microsoft app as a smartphone-based 2FA device on Aug. 27.

Azure Premium Storage is now available in Central US and North Europe. This is absolutely essential if you’re planning on running read/write intensive apps or VMs.

Previously I noted that Apple FairPlay streaming for Azure Media Services, Azure Security Center and Azure Active Directory B2C were in preview; all were sent to general availability last week.

New service: Microsoft Stream

If you always wanted to run your own private YouTube, Microsoft Stream has got your back.

The value in this for training purposes alone seem huge. And there’s no question that a 15-second video can often communicate and important piece of knowledge far better than a 1,500-word email that gets filed and ignored, if not deleted outright.

I don’t see anything about an API or dealing with Stream programmatically yet, but it’s clearly backboned on Azure Media Services, so it’s probably just a matter of time before some sort of API, SDK or documentation is announced.

App Services get networking, load balancing

For an extra fee, you can now upgrade your App Service plans to work within an Azure virtual network. This means you can also apply an internal load balancer to your App Service.

Combined, this enables a variety of features, all of which are detailed in the App Service documentation.

No more VM reboot after OS updates

Yes, you read that correctly: Microsoft is working on means that should remove the need to reboot a virtual machine for operating system patching.

The rudiments of this are in place; the machine is suspended for 30 seconds while its image is stored and reallocated to a new compute instance.

While they aren’t promising it, I could see this easily becoming a zero-reboot for changing VM size or even migrating it to a new virtual network or the like, and possibly even after a “last-ditch-option” redeploy of a sick VM. Stay tuned.

Link your virtual networks

Azure has always had strong support for internal cloud virtual networks and excellent support for connecting on-prem to those networks.

What’s suffered is the ability to connect two virtual networks to each other.

In public preview is VNet Peering, which allows you to connect two virtual networks to each other within the same region. In theory, this feature would allow you to connect on-prem to multiple peered virtual networks.

In theory. Remember, this is a public preview, not an extensively tested general offering.

Odds and ends

Feature photo by Unsplash via Pixabay, in the public domain.
Feature photo by Unsplash via Pixabay, in the public domain.

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