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Top 14 Takeaways from Microsoft Ignite 2021

Microsoft Ignite, the industry's leading gathering for all leaders and practitioners in technology was an all-virtual affair this year, with loads of inspirational and informative content. In this blog post Codit'ers Tom Kerkhove, Gonçalo Chaves, and Steven De Lausnay have given us the rundown of the most important takeaways from the event.

  • Azure Percept: A hardware and software platform which brings AI to the edge. This platform can help you to deploy your Artificial intelligence solutions to the edge. At the moment, Microsoft has tree devices available namely a Trusted Platform Module, Audio and Vision. These device can make use of hardware accelerated AI modules for both audio and vision. These device are available as development kits to allow customer build quickly PoV ideas using AI on the edge. Use cases exist for Voice command control, notify store managers when shelves are empty or just monitoring the parking lot traffic.
  • Azure Synapse Pathway: Customers can simplify and accelerate migrating from legacy or cloud data warehouses to Azure Synapse Analytics. Synapse Pathway will provide tools to automate translation of existing business logic into Azure Synapse. Azure Synapse is a limitless analytics service that brings together data integration, enterprise data warehousing and big data analytics to provide real-time data insights.
  • Azure Arc-enabled machine learning: customers can innovate with Azure Machine Learning to target any Kubernetes cluster for model training, on-premises, in multicloud and at the edge. The solution requires a deployment of the machine learning agent on the Kubernetes cluster while data scientists and developers can still build models using familiar tools in Azure Machine Learning, without having to know the details on Kubernetes. All models, independent where they were built, can be stored and tracked in a central location in Azure Machine Learning for sharing, reproducibility and audit compliance.
  • Accelerate development of Edge AI: Bringing the best of Windows and Linux together, seeing a lot of AI is running on Linux Container. Microsoft has launched EFLOW, a lightweight production ready VM to deploy Linux container on a Windows machine. This allows to run Linux container on a Windows machine side by side Windows containers. For development of Linux containers, Microsoft enables WSL2 which allows the same capabilities as EFLOW on your local development machine. With these possibility to run Linux containers on Windows, Microsoft has also enabled the support of OpenVINO to get the hardware acceleration for you AI algorithms.
  • Device update for IoT hub: Microsoft has taking key learning from Windows update and now make them available to any IoT device, regardless of the operating system. This new service which will be integrated within IoT hub, will enable to publish, distribute and manage over the air updates while keeping you in control of the updating process. This will increase IoT solution security all from an already secure connection with IoT hub.
  • Azure API Management now has named values integration with Azure Key Vault – another step towards the security enhancement by protecting the API configurations on keyvault without custom logic needed.
  • Azure API Management extension for Visual Studio Code now generally available – With the Azure API Management extension, we can perform common management operations on our Azure API Management service instances without switching away from Visual Studio Code. In this release, it’s possible to use familiar tooling, leveraging a design-first approach to API development while taking advantage of API Management capabilities not found outside of Visual Studio Code.
  • Azure is adding a new region in Northern China which will be the first that includes availability zones in their Chinese sovereign cloud offering
  • Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes are now generally available, which is a big step forward in terms of cluster management. We can now not only manage our AKS clusters in Azure, but also Kubernetes clusters that run on the edge, on-prem or any cloud. This leverages us a unified way of managing and operating Kubernetes clusters, regardless of where they are running.
  • Persistent Volume monitoring with Azure Monitor for containers is now generally available, which is another step in making your Kubernetes clusters more operable, allowing you to mitigate issues before it causes downtime.
  • Azure Application Gateway Ingress Controller is now generally available as an add-on in Azure Kubernetes Service. You can now more easily integrate Azure Application Gateway to build secure APIs that are being exposed through an ingress in your cluster.
  • All good things come to an end, so you have to be aware of what’s going away in Azure! In the past 2 weeks; more than 30 features, API endpoints, or even Azure services that you are relying on have deprecated. If you want to stay up to date, you can learn more about them on the Azure Deprecation dashboard.

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