At Microsoft Build 2022, the tech giant’s annual conference geared towards developers and software engineers, there was a lot of exciting news discussed in the various roundtables and online connection zones. Here are some of our favorite announcements from the conference.
Applied AI: Azure Form Recognizer
We know that AI continues to gain new capabilities, taking over mundane tasks so that employees can focus on what they really need to. Here’s a concrete example: Azure Form Recognizer uses AI to extract text, tables, and other information from forms. Data is quickly extracted without the need to transfer it manually. Now Form Recognizer has new capabilities in preview. Text can be extracted more precisely with additional layout options for headers, titles, and paragraphs. And you can add new “document processing scenarios,” such as patient check-in.
Azure Container Apps Generally Available
Customers can run container apps and microservices on a cloud-native, serverless platform with Azure Container Apps. This uses the open-source technology of Kubernetes, which is known for its scaling capabilities. Azure Container Apps also supports event-driven processing and public web API endpoints. All of these capabilities are now becoming generally available, as announced at Microsoft Build 2022.
Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform
This new platform integrates databases, analytics, and governance, creating a streamlined data estate. Customers can easily pivot between different areas of data. This is a game changer for creating Customer 360 data lakes: it eliminates the need to string together products from multiple vendors. Instead, data can be found and used much more quickly. Intelligence and predictive insights bring value as well in this now generally available platform.
Microsoft Purview Data Updates
Similarly, Microsoft Purview was recently created as a way to manage an organization’s entire data estate, combining data governance with compliance. It subsumed a number of tools and offerings previously named otherwise. There’s now a preview for some specific Purview capabilities: Microsoft Purview Data Policy for SQL DevOps roles allows data owners to manage opted-in assets centrally from Microsoft Purview. Data Estates Insights provides a comprehensive view of the entire data estate’s health. Any gaps in protection can easily be spotted and fixed.
Multicloud capabilities are also expanding in Microsoft Purview: customers can better classify and protect PDFs within Adobe Acrobat, and new Microsoft Graph APIs are available.
Single-Node Azure Stack HCI Generally Available
Azure Stack HCI is a hardware/software combination that connects the Azure cloud to users’ physical locations. Its standard configuration is optimized for performance and scale. The new single-node option is for remote locations or smaller spaces with less processing needs. This makes the best use of resources and is a great solution to run Azure in environments like power and water utilities. (Azure Stack HCI can be built to scale, from the single node up to 16 nodes.)
DCsv3 Virtual Machines with Intel Software Guard Extensions
Now generally available, Intel Software Guard Extensions bring a new level of performance to Azure virtual machines. With up to 48 physical cores, they provide a 12x increase in memory. Confidentiality is achieved through Multi Key Total Memory Encryption (MK-TME). This allows large workloads to remain efficient, including those with containers in Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).
New Features for Streamlining Cloud Migration
Some new features simplify the cloud migration process:
- Dependent Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs) and physical servers can now be agentlessly discovered and grouped, identifying required components during a move to Azure. Generally available now.
- Azure SQL assessments now include both recommendations for SQL Server on Azure VMs and support for Hyper-V VMs and physical stacks. These complement already existing assessments for Azure SQL Managed Instance and Azure SQL Database. In preview.
- Those doing migrations can use a new pause and resume function as needed. This can be used to schedule migrations during off-peak periods as well. In preview.
- Customers can discover ASP.NET web apps native to Azure Application Service and modernize them to Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) Application Service Container. They can also discover Java apps running on Apache Tomcat. In preview.
Microsoft Dev Box and Azure Deployment Environments
These are a couple new offerings to make developers’ lives easier: Microsoft Dev Box provides self-service access to cloud-based, preconfigured, ready-to-code workstations. Azure Deployment Environments have project-based templates that are set up with best practices so developers can easily grab and work with them. These extensions of Windows 365 let developers do high-end computing without needing hardware. That really helps ease supply chain constraints we’re seeing, when it can take 3-6 months for that hardware to come in.
Create Loop Components with Existing Adaptive Cards
Developers will soon be able to create Loop components by using Adaptive Cards, either building new components or updating their existing cards. Once this becomes generally available, it will be possible to copy and paste Loop components across Microsoft Teams chat and Outlook emails, and they will stay in sync wherever they are used. For now this is still brand new and will be in private preview starting June 2022.
App Compliance Automation Tool for Microsoft 365
This new tool helps independent software vendors ensure that their apps are secure and meet industry compliance standards for Microsoft 365 certification. It can be used to check custom-built apps and share the results with other IT security professionals as well. It also automates a number of steps in the validation process, improving efficiency and saving time. This is in private preview now.