Microsoft Build 2022: Microsoft Azure Key Highlights

Exciting developments for the Open AI services, user-friendly policy options in Purview, and more.

The Microsoft Build 2022 event announced a ton of new features, mainly targeted toward their popular cloud computing platform, Microsoft Azure.

Updates primarily focused on seamless integration, simplicity, and making it easier for developers to create native apps. But we’ll get into that in a bit.

For those that don’t know, Microsoft Build is a conference held every year where Microsoft announces a series of new updates and features to their services. The Build 2022 conference had a lot in store for us, providing many new features to our favorite applications, whether that’s Teams, OpenAI, or Microsoft Purview.

This blog post will outline the key highlights of the Microsoft Build 2022 event for Azure, keeping you up to date with all the new features.

So, what’s new with Microsoft Azure?

The Microsoft Build 2022 event showcased two large updates to Microsoft Azure, each containing many smaller updates to a ton of new features.

For example, the following is new:

  1. Azure OpenAI service
  2. Improved Azure Communication Services
  3. Added GraphQL-specific controls to API management
  4. gRPC support for Azure app service and Linux workloads
  5. Azure migrate app service
  6. User-friendly policy options using Microsoft Purview

Keep reading to find out more on each update, including what’s new and how each feature works/why it might benefit your organization.

Azure OpenAI service

The introduction of the Azure OpenAI service aims to help customers accelerate innovation with large AI models, thanks to an expanded availability of the existing AI service.

A new responsible AI system helps filter harmful content and abuse. The system can also perform numerous tasks on demand, such as generating unique customer content, summarising customer feedback, and even extracting and inputting data from medical records or other forms to make billing and data input more efficient and accurate.

Microsoft used the example of CarMax, the largest car retailer in the United States. Azure OpenAI makes it easier for customers to read summaries of each car, taking away key points from thousands of customer reviews with little effort. There’s even a feature to create new website content to break down each car further (which can also be applied to other businesses, of course).

With faster content creation and more accuracy than ever, businesses can build trust with their audience like never before, in a short period of time too.

Improved Azure Communication Services

The Microsoft Azure communication service is widely used by many organizations and is even a feature on LinkedIn, allowing you to stream video in a crisp, quick, and efficient manner.

So, what’s new? Well, expect Azure integration with Microsoft Teams, further improving communication and productivity in meetings, and making it easier for developers to deliver custom apps with voice, chat, and video communication on different platforms.

Other new features include a public preview of new REST APIs (and SDKs) for sending email, the ability to obtain phone numbers from Azure in Italy, Ireland, Sweden, and Canada directly, and new messaging capabilities in the US government cloud.

Check out the full Azure communication services update notes here.

Added GraphQL - specific controls to API management

Current REST APIs restrict users in several ways, including issues with page rendering, the client application requiring to poll for new info, and other limitations.

But GraphQL - specific controls aim to solve these issues, creating a client application that renders a page in a single request, does not require the need to poll, and presents notifications in a much more timely manner.

It’s the latest release of Azure API management that adds these GraphQL - specific controls, providing new features such as query size analysis, authorization rules, and schema checking.

Models and operations can now be removed from the schema that are not relevant to third parties, and you can even advertise new GraphQL APIs to your dev community for testing.

gRPC support for Azure app service and Linux workloads

For a long time now, developers have been looking forward to gRPC support. Good news: there’s now a preview available.

gRPC allows you to enable new features such as multiplexing, allowing you to send multiple parallel requests over the same connection. Azure app users will benefit from streamlined communication between client and server, a feature that was long-awaited.

It’s currently available in EUAP with private preview (.NET Core 3.1 and .NET 6).

Azure migrate app service

Azure migrate received a few updates of its own, now allowing users to perform agentless VMware VM discovery, assessments, and migrations over a private network using the Azure private link service.

Furthermore, there were also a few general availability updates. For example, support was provided for replicating virtual machines, and a few other smaller fixes were implemented.

Learn more by reading the full update notes.

User-friendly policy options using Microsoft Purview

Microsoft Pureview is a tool designed for organizations to better manage, access, and deliver compliant data and discovery - a major problem for many companies.

Many organizations use Purview as a records management system, organizing legal obligations, regulations, and other key and sensitive documents.

And while you may have been using Microsoft Purview for a while, the Build conference announced an extension to the Ecosystem: new APIs, built-in integrations, and more.

Microsoft announced a new preview option for Purview capabilities, introducing data policy for SQL DevOps and roles for better data management. There’s also the introduction of Data Estate Insights - a tool that helps organizations view their data as a whole to spot any gaps. Data Estate insights will help answer key concerns of the CDO and director community. For example, new insights are centered around “health,” “inventory and ownership,” and “curation and governance.”

Users will be walked through how to mediate governance risks through catalog adoption, can access detailed drill-downs of asset distribution, and classify and label assets for better clarity.

Ultimately, the introduction of Estate Insights aims to answer these concerns, allowing you to better understand sensitive data and how it’s stored and accessed, what the top data risks are in your organization, and whether your investment in the catalog is paying off.

Key takeaways

The Microsoft Build 2022 event showcased some exciting new developments and features for Azure, with updates to the OpenAI services, improved communication and migration to Microsoft Teams, and a bunch of user-friendly smaller updates to streamline development, communication, and general Azure use for teams.

To find out everything new, including within Microsoft Azure and the entire Microsoft ecosystem, check out the Microsoft industry blogs.

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