As we head into 2021 it’s time again to look back over the last year and review what’s been happening in the world of Azure.
As with [last year](Azure in 2019: The Year in Review - samcogan.com), I’ve taken the data from the Azure Updates site and used this to analyse what’s been going on over the year. I am sure there have been updates and announcements happening that have not made it onto this feed, but this is the only data source that exists for tracking these things, so it’s the best metric we have currently.
As with everything else, it’s been a bit of a crazy year, and releases and updates have been impacted by the pandemic, home working and more. Despite all that, we have actually seen more announcements this year than in 2020, with 1125 announcements, 75 more than 2019.
Most years we have seen a spike in announcements around Build and Ignite time, but interestingly this year we didn’t see much of a spike at Build, but a much larger spike than last year at Ignite. This might indicate that a number of things for Build got delayed by the pandemic, and got pushed to Ignite.
If we look at which areas of Azure saw announcements, we are again a bit hampered by the inconsistent tagging done on the announcements site. However, last year this was dominated by the Azure Portal, whilst this still has a large chunk we can see a big chunk of work being done on Azure Monitor and Security.
Let’s look a bit deeper now at some of the highlights of the year.
It’s not possible to cover all 1125 announcements, so I’ve pulled out a few highlights that I think are the highlights of this years announcements, at least from my perspective. Feel free to disagree or add more in the comments! If you want to look at all the announcements from this year you can do so here.
New Solution for Azure Monitor for Virtual Machines - A new and improved in VM monitoring solution for Azure monitor to get richer data
Classic VM retirement announced - Classic VM’s will retire on the 1st March 2023
Cross Region Restore for Azure Virtual Machines- Initiate VM restores from Azure Backup into a secondary region
Spot VM’s GA - Use Spot VM’s to utilise spare Azure capacity for reduced cost
VMSS Auto Image Upgrade - Automate the upgrade of gallery and custom images in VMSS
Azure Auto-manage - Automated management for backup, security etc.
Azure Ultra Disks - New super fast SSD storage for virtual machines
Managed Disks Support for Bursting - Burst above a disks limits to handle spiky workloads
Object replication for Blobs - Replicate block blobs to another storage account
Azure Storage Blob Index - Categorise blob data using key value pairs
Customer Initiated Failover GA - Control when your storage accounts failover to another region
Azure Blob Storage NFS Support - Mount a blob container using NFS
Azure Shared Disks - Attach a disk to more than one Virtual Machine
Soft Delete for Azure Blob - Enable recovery of recently deleted blobs
Azure File Support for NFS - Mount Azure Files shares with NFS
NSG Flow Logs - view information about ingress and egress through your NSG’s to better debug issues
Private Link - GA and many new services came onboard to private link
Service Endpoint Policies - Additional security for your service endpoints with policies
Virtual Network NAT - Network Address Translation for outbound internet traffic on your vNet
Azure Peering Service GA - Peering between Azure and Service providers offering enhanced routing and monitoring
Azure Firewall Manager GA - Manage multiple Azure Firewalls from a central location
Cross Region Load Balancing - User Azure Load Balancer to balance traffic across regions
App Service and PaaS
Self Hosted Gateway for Azure API Management - Run an APIM gateway on-premises or anywhere you can run containers
Azure Front Door Rules Engine - Create rules to customise handling of incoming requests
OpenID Connect Support for App Service and Functions - Configure App Service authentication using customer providers that support Open ID Connect
Azure Communication Services - Add real time multimedia, voice, video and telephony to your applications
App Service v3 SKU - Improved performance and cost
Containers & Serverless
Azure Functions Runtime 3.0 GA - The latest runtime for Azure functions goes GA, supporting .NET core 3.1 and Node 12
Functions vNet Integration - Integrate Azure Functions with a virtual network using the Premium plan
Managed Identity Support for AKS - Use managed identity for running AKS clusters rather than service principals
AKS Private Clusters - Use Private Link to fully isolate your AKS clusters from the internet
Windows Container GA on AKS - Use Windows Containers on AKS
Azure Policy for AKS - Use Azure Policy to apply controls to your AKS workloads
Optional SLA for AKS - For critical workloads you can now get an SLA for AKS clusters
AKS Azure AD Integration - Integrate with Azure AD for authentication to AKS
AKS Node Image Upgrade - Upgrade AKS Node OS without a Kubernetes Upgrade
Azure AD for AKS RBAC - Use Azure AD roles to grant Kubernetes RBAC permissions on AKS
Pod Identity for AKS - Automatically deploy Pod Identity to your AKS clusters
Serverless Pricing for Cosmos DB - Consumption based pricing for your Cosmos DB databases
Log Analytics Dedicated Clusters - Store Log Analytics data in a dedicated cluster with customer managed encryption and lockbox
Zone Redundant Azure SQL Databases - Spread your databases over multiple availability zones
Azure Security Centre Continuous Export - Export security alerts and recommendation’s to Log Analytics or Azure Event Hubs
Azure Security Centre Workflow Automation - Trigger logic apps based on security alerts
Azure Security Centre for AKS - Azure Security Centre now monitors AKS clusters
Data Plane RBAC for Key Vault - Grant access to Key Vault data resources using Azure RBAC roles
Portal, Management and Infrastructure as Code
Azure Resource Mover - Move Azure resources between regions
ARM Template What-If GA - Determine what your ARM template will do before it is run
Azure Bicep Preview - A new language for writing ARM templates