Microsoft Azure supports the diverse needs of every developer – from core infrastructure services to platform services and tools to build and run apps in any language across any platform. In addition to providing flexibility and choice, developer productivity is central to our mission. We’re relentless about taking the latest technologies and making them easy and accessible to the broadest set of developers. The aim is to help you build apps faster. Our investments in Platform as a Service (PaaS) is an example of our commitment and is recognized across the industry as Azure was recently named a leader in Gartner’s Enterprise Application Platform as a Service Magic Quadrant for the third consecutive year.
And with the proliferation of data and devices, visionary organizations and developers are looking to build unique solutions that disrupt the competition and transform business using the power of data. Azure provides a rich data platform in conjunction with analytics, business intelligence and machine learning technologies to support the creation of intelligent applications.
At //Build, Scott Guthrie announced a range of innovations to help developers make the leap to the cloud by embracing key technology trends: mobile app development, Internet of Things, microservices and intelligence. Support for these scenarios highlight the full spectrum nature and continuous innovation of the Azure platform. In this blog, I summarize the key Azure announcements and I encourage you to explore them in more detail through the links provided.
For web and mobile development, Azure offers a rich set of backend capabilities for web and native Windows, iOS and Android mobile platforms with Azure App Service. To provide a complete mobile development experience, our acquisition of Xamarin now makes it easier and faster for developers to build mobile apps that run across all mobile platforms – for free. Lots of exciting Xamarin announcements were made, so visit the Visual Studio blog to learn more.
The Internet of Things is a natural extension of today’s applications, as mobile and embedded devices become part of peoples’ lives and businesses, enabling new business models and services. Azure IoT solutions provide secure and scalable connectivity, ingestion and analytics across all devices and data. And to help developers achieve more with IoT on Azure, we announced:
- Azure IoT Starter Kits are now available for purchase from partners. Five new kits – each of which include Azure Certified for IoT development boards, actuators, sensors and simple, and user-friendly tutorials – enable anyone with Windows or Linux experience to quickly and inexpensively build IoT prototypes.
- Azure IoT Hub device management, available later in Q2, makes it easier and more cost-effective for medium and large, global businesses to remotely maintain, interact with and manage IoT devices at scale from the cloud.
- Azure IoT Gateway SDK preview, available later in Q2, to enables legacy devices and sensors to connect to the Azure cloud without having to replace existing infrastructure.
App models continue to evolve to help developers take advantage of the cloud. Microservices provide a new approach for developers to build highly scalable applications designed for agility and 24/7 availability. To enable developers build born in the cloud applications, we announced:
- Azure Service Fabric general availability is a microservices application platform for building always-on apps and services at cloud scale. Service Fabric is the foundation of Microsoft cloud services such as Azure SQL Database, Cortana and Skype for Business, and seamlessly handles application lifecycle management. We also announced previews for Service Fabric for Windows Server, for deploying on-premises and other clouds, and Service Fabric for Linux with Java APIs to broaden the number of developers who can take advantage of Service Fabric and enhance application portability.
- Azure Functions preview extends Azure’s market-leading application platform by offering serverless compute for an event-driven approaches common in web and mobile applications, IoT and big data solutions. Functions works with Azure and third party services, automatically scales out to meet demand and only charges for the time your function runs.
Microsoft Azure’s data platform and predictive analytics capabilities empower organizations to maximize the value of your data to build intelligent apps. At //Build, we announced new innovations to help developers take advantage of the power of data and intelligence:
- Cortana Intelligence Suite is the new name for Cortana Analytics Suite, and introduces new capabilities that will enable our customers to build intelligent solutions and agents that can augment their organizational capabilities in exciting new ways. These are:
- Microsoft Bot Framework enables organizations to build intelligent agents (Bots) that allow your users to interact with your intelligent solutions in more contextual and natural ways, from text/sms, to Office365 mail, to Skype, Slack, and Twitter.
- Microsoft Cognitive Services preview enables organizations to build intelligent solutions that can see, hear, interpret and understand the world around you. The Cognitive Services preview expands the existing perceptual intelligence capabilities like vision, speech, text and face detection to include new cognitive capabilities such as emotion and customized language understanding.
- Power BI Embedded preview allows developers to embed fully interactive reports and visualizations into customer facing apps without the time and expense of having to build controls from the ground-up, either choosing from pre-made data visualizations out of the box or building custom visualizations to meet their application’s unique needs.
- DocumentDB protocol support for MongoDB preview enables applications to easily and transparently communicate with DocumentDB using existing, community supported Apache License MongoDB APIs and drivers.
Microsoft Azure continues to advance at cloud speed. This means we’re continually improving services across the board:
- Azure Developer Tools updates speed up your application development with a broad set of cloud-first development tools that make it easier to configure, build, debug, package, and deploy applications and services that scale on Azure.
- Virtual Machine Scale Sets general availability makes it easy for you to deploy and manage identical virtual machines as a set with true autoscale.
- Storage Service Encryption preview ensures security and privacy by encrypting data In Azure Blob storage using the industry leading encryption algorithm.
From microservices and IoT to intelligence, Microsoft is helping developers embrace the cloud technologies of today and tomorrow, delivering cutting-edge cloud technologies that enable our customers such as BMW, Schneider Electric, AccuWeather, and Milliman to keep pace in today’s evolving technology landscape. With our comprehensive approach to the cloud, we meet you where you are and empower you to embrace a cloud-first world on your terms, so you can achieve more.
Visit Build 2016 online to get the latest news, catch-up on the keynotes and sessions and learn more!