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Azure features for Serverless

Microsoft’s Serverless offering has it’s own distinct features, building on other Azure services. It’s still young, having been announced at //build/ 2016 but is already demonstrating many interesting strengths and flexibilities for developers, DevOps and IT staff. Azure is “enterprise quality, startup friendly” with enterprise features like AAD integration and low cost tiers suitable for startups. LogicApps and Azure Functions can cost very little indeed and Microsoft Bizspark specifically supports startups with generous free resources.

Azure has a huge and growing number of offerings but not all have obvious uses in a Serverless context. Here’s the key features you’ll want to know about

Functions – Functions as a Service (FaaS)

  • Event driven compute with input / output bindings to HTTP and services such as storage
  • Multiple development languages, especially C# and nodejs
    • Plus your favourite modules via npm or nuget etc
  • Open source (MIT) and collaborative from the start
  • Group functions together into a Function App
  • Run locally – can still work with online services
  • Integrated debugging in Visual Studio code
    • local and remote debugging
  • Builds on the mature App Service components including Azure Webtasks & Kudu
    • Visibility through debug and console facilities
    • Flexible deployment including CI/CD
    • Secrets management
  • Pay As You Go with dynamic plan

Logic Apps – Workflow as a services (WaaS)

  • GUI or declarative definition of workflow
  • Large library of connectors to external services
  • Automatic REST API binding support via Swagger declarations
  • A simpler version called Flows is also available

Key Azure Services

  • Storage
    • SQL – Azure SQL
    • NoSQL – DocumentDB
    • Blob
    • Queues
  • Application Insights – detailed instrumentation
  • Others including Search, IoT event streams and Push notifications
  • Active Directory support