Ignite 2017 Preview: Coming Azure Changes 1Microsoft Ignite 2017 is less than a week away. Microsoft has already been busy making changes to Microsoft Azure ahead of time. While it’s unclear what all the announcements for Azure will be at Ignite 2017, it’s clear there are certain “smaller” changes / updates that will be announced / discussed. This article highlights a few Microsoft Azure service updates and Preview features that are publicly available today; that we will likely learn much more about at Ignite next week.

Web Apps for Windows or Linux

The Azure Web Apps for Linux service has been Generally Available (GA) for some time now. Initially it has a different provisioning wizard within the Azure Portal from the “Web Apps on Windows”. However, recently Microsoft updated the Azure Portal to include UI to choose either Windows or Linux when provisioning an Azure Web App. This helps to better streamline the UI/UX.

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Web Apps for Containers

There a “new” Web Apps service within Azure App Service. The new Web Apps for Containers enables you to spin up a Web App on Linux using any Docker container. It allows you to specify the Image source for the container to pull from an Azure Container Registry service, Docker Hub, or any Private Registry.

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The Web Apps for Containers is not a Preview feature. It’s actually a new Azure Portal UI wizard around the Azure Web Apps for Linux service that’s been Generally Available (GA) for some time now. The Web Apps for Linux make you pick a “built-in” Docker container template, then after provisioning you can setup your own Image source. The Web Apps for Containers enable you to specify your custom Docker container image source from the time of provisioning the service through the Azure Portal.

Azure Web Apps Analytics (Preview)

Azure Web Apps Analytics is a new Preview feature of OMS and Log Analytics. The “learn more” and “documentation” links displayed in the Azure Portal for it just link to the Log Analytics information for now. I presume we’ll see more specific documentation coming soon.

As the Azure Portal informations states, “The Azure Web Apps Analytics Solution provides insights into your Web Apps by collecting different metrics across all your Azure Web App resources.

It goes on to list the following bullet points as to what it will enable you to see for your Web Apps:

  • Top Web Apps with highest response time
  • Number of requests including successful and failed requests across your Web Apps
  • Top Web Apps with highest ingoing/outgoing traffic
  • Top Service Plans with high CPU/memory utilization

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It’s a little unclear what the full difference it between what Application Insights offers and Azure Web Apps Analytics. However, we should see more documentation / information soon.

Azure Table Storage is Now Part of Azure Cosmos DB

Azure Table Storage is no longer a service of Azure Storage, but is now part of Cosmos DB. Here’s a short quote from the documentation on this:

“Standard Azure Table Storage is now part of Cosmos DB. Also available is Premium Tables for Azure Table storage, offering throughput-optimized tables, global distribution, and automatic secondary indexes.”

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We all knew from the Build 2017 announcements that Azure Table Storage was going to be somehow migrated to or included in Azure Cosmos DB somehow. Microsoft just said they would announce further details on this later. Well, it appears that Ignite 2017 is when Microsoft will announce the full specifics of the Azure Table Storage to Cosmos DB migration / transition. However, we can see plenty of information within the Azure Documentation already that states much of the detail on how this will be done.

It seems that the “old” Azure Table Storage will be known as “Standard Table Storage” and the newer Cosmos DB Table API will be known as “Azure Cosmos DB Premium Table”. Here’s a screenshot from the documentation that lists out differences between these two Table Storage offerings / price points:

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How did you find this information?

While I am a Microsoft MVP, that did NOT help me learn any of this information. I learned it through normal use and observation of Microsoft Azure through the Azure Portal and Documentation published by Microsoft. You can reference the screenshots and documentation link in the above information for the sources to these “Previews of what’s coming to Azure”.

Microsoft has a habit of publishing and releasing services and documentation in Microsoft Azure ahead of the release. If you are familiar with things and work with it a lot, then you’ll likely notice these changes too. Most times they are subtle, but other times they aren’t so much. For example, when Microsoft announced the renaming of DocumentDB to Cosmos DB and the associated service changes, they actually published everything in the Azure Portal a few hours in advance of the announcement. This is how I was able to blog about Cosmos DB before the announcement.

If you find any additional new features, service previews, and documentation I haven’t listed here, please post a comment to share it with us. It’s always fun to look at the new, shiny stuff as it’s published / released.

Microsoft MVP

Chris Pietschmann is a Microsoft MVP, HashiCorp Ambassador, and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) with 20+ years of experience designing and building Cloud & Enterprise systems. He has worked with companies of all sizes from startups to large enterprises. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.
HashiCorp Ambassador Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect