Microsoft Build 2023: Extensions for DevOps, Dev Box and Kubernetes
The Build conference, which has been held completely online for the past three years due to the pandemic, will be held in front of an audience in Seattle for the first time in 2023. In addition to new AI services, interesting innovations for cloud developers were also presented.
Anyone who didn’t make it to Seattle can also watch all the Build lectures online via live stream or recording free of charge. A text-based overview of all the Build Conference news is also available.
Web-based tool: Azure AI Studio
Azure AI Studio is a new web-based tool as part of the Azure OpenAI Service for creating, customizing, training and deploying AI models. Developers can choose from a model catalog with their own models and open source models and combine different data sources graphically.
New web-based tool: Prompt Flow in Azure AI Studio.
Azure Deployment Environments are ready
Announced on May 24, 2022 and available in preview on October 12, 2022, Azure Deployment Environments are now operational. This is a cloud service that enables development teams to set up an infrastructure for an application based on templates. For example, you can use it to set up a web application with an associated database.
Open-Source-Framework Semantic Kernel
Under the name Semantic Kernel, Microsoft is introducing a new open source framework that is intended to make it easier to integrate Large Language Models (LLMs) into programming languages. The associated GitHub page shows examples in C# and Python. The Copilot Chat Starter App is intended to serve as a starting point for developing your own AI chat solutions. It has a React-based web frontend that accesses a web API written in C# with a semantic kernel.
Extension of the Dev Box in the cloud
A year ago, at Build in May 2022, Microsoft first announced the cloud-based Dev Box. iX Magazine tested these preconfigured development systems in October. Microsoft is now expanding its range to include preconfigured Starter Developer Images in the Azure Marketplace. There is a new portal called Dev Center for launching and managing Dev Boxes, where development teams can also manage the Azure Deployment Environments. While the Starter Developer Images and the new portal are already up and running, there is a new file-based configuration for Dev Boxes integrated with Git that is still in preview status.
The new Dev Center for managing Dev Boxes and Azure Deployment Environments.
(Image: Dr. Holger Schwichtenberg)
Accelerations for Visual Studio on Dev Boxes
Microsoft has also announced that there will be a simplified system for transferring settings from the development environment called Unified Settings for Visual Studio 2022, which developers can use to easily transfer personal and team settings to other systems such as the Dev Boxes and should also be able to export as a JSON file. Microsoft also wants to speed up the loading of large solutions onto dev boxes by having the development environment index the code files in advance and generating metadata.
Advanced security for Azure DevOps
In addition to GitHub, Microsoft also operates the older DevOps service Azure DevOps, formerly called Team Foundation Server/Services. In the last two years there has been little innovation here. Microsoft is now taking the security scanning capabilities from GitHub to Azure DevOps. Scanning includes searching for secrets such as passwords and tokens in the code (secret scanning), checking package dependencies for security vulnerabilities (dependency scanning) and checking your own program code for security vulnerabilities (code scanning).
These features are now available in preview for all Azure DevOps users under the umbrella term GitHub Advanced Security for Azure DevOps. A first announcement with limited preview versions was made in October 2022. Now Microsoft has also set a price of $49 per active project member, which corresponds to the price in GitHub.
Dependency scanning for a web project in Azure DevOps.
New jobs for Azure Container Apps
Microsoft is expanding the Kubernetes-based service Azure Container Apps with the option of starting jobs for asynchronous tasks. The jobs can be time-controlled, event-based, started by a WebAPI call or by user action.
Two years of support for Kubernetes in the cloud
With the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Microsoft now offers two-year support for certain Kubernetes versions, which Microsoft calls long-term support. Kubernetes delivers new versions every three to four months, and Microsoft previously offered a specific Kubernetes version for a maximum of one year. The new two-year support begins with Kubernetes version 1.27.
Own Linux distribution for Kubernetes hosting
In addition, Microsoft now also offers its own distribution called Azure Linux as the host operating system for AKS. Azure Linux is a Linux distribution from Microsoft optimized for use in the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. According to Microsoft, it has been in use for “more than 100” Azure services as well as Xbox and Minecraft for some time under the name Common Base Linux Mariner (CBL-Mariner). The product is now ready under the name Azure Linux Container Host for AKS and can be used both in cloud-based AKS and on-premises (with Azure Stack HCI or AKS on Windows Server).
KI-Dokumentation in Microsoft Learn
A new section in Microsoft Learn dedicated to AI was also announced at Build. Under the heading Learn Microsoft AI, documentation on Azure OpenAI Services, the creation of AI-supported Power Apps and GitHub Copilot is available, among other things. Developers will also find links to the Microsoft certifications and related training courses in the field of AI there.
They can now also be supported by artificial intelligence in the “Microsoft Q&A” forum area. The AI can either answer the question, search for similar questions in the forums or support users in formulating a question with suggestions.
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