Build 2016, Day 2: Microsoft's Guthrie Maps Lofty Goals for Azure Build Out

The second day of Build highlighted the "cloud-first" part of Microsoft's mission. Plus: Xamarin is set free and is open sourced.

As was expected at a developer conference, Microsoft's coding guru Scott Guthrie (real title: Executive Vice President of the Cloud and Enterprise Group) and his familiar red shirt headlined the second day of Build with some juicy nuggets of information, and most of it was Azure focused.

On the second half of the long keynote (which we detail tomorrow), EVP of Application and Services Qi Lu trotted out lots of the new and evolving connectivity features around Azure, Office 365 and Skype (with Steve Guggenheimer and John Shewchuk providing some partner insights and case studies).

Guthrie first trotted out the usual statistics on Azure in a prepared slide to give a basis for the work that they plan to accomplish in the coming months: More than 120,000 new Azure customer subscriptions per month are deploying more than 1.4 million SQL databases and sending 2 trillion messages per week, which are processed by Azure IoT services available in its cloud. He then spent the majority of his talk slowly piecing out the Azure roadmap, with a few choice nuggets of news along the way. Here are the highlights:

Azure Service Fabric: Now generally available (that's the news in a nutshell), it provides distributable micro services for delivery through the span of a mobile or application life cycle, and at scale. Guthrie also said that Service Fabric for Windows Server and for Linux and Java APIs are available in preview, with Linux in development.

Azure IoT: Guthrie said that Azure IoT Starter Kits were now available for purchase, with some sites reporting that the kits were available for as little as $50. "With development boards, actuators, sensors and easy user-friendly tutorials, now anyone with Windows or Linux experience – whether a student, inventor, device maker, hobbyist or developer – can quickly build IoT prototypes inexpensively," said Guthrie, through this blog post. Guthrie introduced Cameron Skinner, a Microsoft program manager, who showed a proof of concept developed with the now available Azure IoT Gateway SDK. Using an IoT Alert app in a Web site monitoring temperature on an IoT device that gaged temperature, he cooled the gauge, which shot down the readings, triggering an alert that lit up an LED sign on his shirt that read, "Azure IoT." The shirt was hooked up to an AdaFruit board and a Raspberry Pi, showing the compactness of devices with which Azure IoT could be deployed.

Azure Functions: Preview of a new suite of templated tools for serverless compute that are made to respond to event-driven events on Web and mobile applications. scalable solutions. Guthrie said that it didn't have a fixed pricing scheme; rather, customers would pay-per-execution of the code. He said that the runtime would be open sourced at this point.

Xamarin acquisition: With the acquisition officially completed last week, Guthrie announced to genuine applause the free availability of Xamarin's tools, which is available now, even for Visual Studio 2015 Community Edition developers. There is also a version for Visual Studio Community Edition for OSX. One highlight of the demonstration of Xamarin was the integration of Xamarin Test Cloud with the rest of tools available in Visual Studio Test Services, including HockeyApp. He also said that Xamarin would now be managed as an open source project. As a quick side note that was kind of related (in an open source way), Guthrie also announced Red Hat, Jet Brains, and Unity became new members of the .NET Foundation. 

PowerBI Embedded: A new variation on PowerBI that developers can embed PowerBI-built reports and visualzations (as well as customized ones) into customer-facing applications or devices, and those reports are able to connect to scalable NoSQL services, including DocumentDB via Apache License MongoDB APIs. It's currently in preview and is free until May 1. Pricing hasn't been announced.

The PowerBI demo was a transition to the second part of the keynote that was headed by Qi Lu, which we'll cover in Friday's news roundup.

About the Author

You Tell 'Em, Readers: If you've read this far, know that Michael Domingo, Visual Studio Magazine Editor in Chief, is here to serve you, dear readers, and wants to get you the information you so richly deserve. What news, content, topics, issues do you want to see covered in Visual Studio Magazine? He's listening at [email protected].

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